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placebo pla·ce·bo (plə-sē'bō)
n. pl. pla·ce·bos or pla·ce·boes
A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient's expectation to get well.
An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.
A substance containing no active drug, administered to a patient participating in a medical experiment as a control.
Note: Those receiving a placebo often get better, a phenomenon known as the placebo effect.