1. a quantity of medicine prescribed to be taken at one time.
  2. a substance, situation, or quantity of anything analogous to medicine, especially of something disagreeable: Failing the exam was a hard dose to swallow.
  3. an amount of sugar added in the production of champagne.
  4. Physics.
    1. Also called absorbed dose.the quantity of ionizing radiation absorbed by a unit mass of matter, especially living tissue: measured in gray or rad.
    2. exposure dose.
  5. Slang. a case of gonorrhea or syphilis.
verb (used with object), dosed, dos·ing.
  1. to administer in or apportion for doses.
  2. to give a dose of medicine to.
  3. to add sugar to (champagne) during production.
verb (used without object), dosed, dos·ing.
  1. to take a dose of medicine.

Origin of dose

1590–1600; earlier dos < Late Latin dosis < Greek dósis a giving
Related formsdos·er, nounsu·per·dose, nounun·der·dose, nounun·der·dose, verb (used with object), un·der·dosed, un·der·dos·ing.well-dosed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for underdose

Historical Examples of underdose

  • Seems as though sometimes I get an overdose of feeling, and an underdose of sense.

    The Lost Wagon

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

British Dictionary definitions for underdose


  1. med a specific quantity of a therapeutic drug or agent taken at any one time or at specified intervals
  2. informal something unpleasant to experiencea dose of influenza
  3. Also called: dosage the total energy of ionizing radiation absorbed by unit mass of material, esp of living tissue; usually measured in grays (SI unit) or rads
  4. Also called: dosage a small amount of syrup added to wine, esp sparkling wine, when the sediment is removed and the bottle is corked
  5. slang a venereal infection, esp gonorrhoea
  6. like a dose of salts very quickly indeed
verb (tr)
  1. to administer a dose or doses to (someone)
  2. med to give (a therapeutic drug or agent) in appropriate quantities
  3. (often foll by up) to give (someone, esp oneself) drugs, medicine, etc, esp in large quantities
  4. to add syrup to (wine) during bottling
Derived Formsdoser, noun

Word Origin for dose

C15: from French, from Late Latin dosis, from Greek: a giving, from didonai to give
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 underdose



c.1600, from Middle French dose (15c.), from Late Latin dosis, from Greek dosis "a portion prescribed," literally "a giving," used by Galen and other Greek physicians to mean an amount of medicine, from stem of didonai "to give" (see date (n.1)). Slang meaning "venereal disease" is from 1914.



1650s, from dose (n.). Related: Dosed; dosing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

underdose in Medicine


  1. A specified quantity of a therapeutic agent, such as a drug, prescribed to be taken at one time or at stated intervals.
  2. The amount of radiation administered as therapy to a given site.
  1. To give or prescribe something, such as medicine, in specified amounts.
  2. To give someone a dose, as of medicine.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.