[te-truh-sahy-kleen, -klin]

noun Pharmacology.

an antibiotic, C22H24H2O8, derived from chlortetracycline, used in medicine to treat a broad variety of infections.

Origin of tetracycline

First recorded in 1950–55; tetra- + cycl- + -ine2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tetracycline

Historical Examples of tetracycline

  • I didn't spot it until I found them wolfing down the tetracycline capsules in my samples case.

    The Native Soil

    Alan Edward Nourse

British Dictionary definitions for tetracycline



an antibiotic synthesized from chlortetracycline or derived from the bacterium Streptomyces viridifaciens: used in treating rickettsial infections and various bacterial infections. Formula: C 22 H 24 N 2 O 8

Word Origin for tetracycline

C20: from tetra- + cycl (ic) + -ine ²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for tetracycline

1952, with chemical suffix -ine (2) + tetracyclic "containing four fused hydrocarbon rings," from tetra- + cyclic (see cycle (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

tetracycline in Medicine


[tĕt′rə-sīklēn′, -klĭn]


A yellow crystalline compound synthesized or derived from certain actinomycetes of the genus Streptomyces and used as a broad-spectrum antibiotic.
An antibiotic, such as oxytetracycline, having the same basic structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

tetracycline in Science


[tĕt′rə-sīklēn′, -klĭn]

A yellow crystalline compound, C22H24N2O8, synthesized or derived from several bacterial species of the genus Streptomyces and used as an antibiotic in bacterial infections. Other drugs of the tetracycline class have a similar chemical structure.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.