[dee-kuhn-jes-tuhnt] Pharmacology.
of or pertaining to a substance that relieves mucus congestion of the upper respiratory tract.
any such substance.

1945–50; de- + congest + -ant Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
decongestant (ˌdiːkənˈdʒɛstənt)
1.  relieving congestion, esp nasal congestion
2.  a decongestant drug

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1950, from de- + congestant (see congest).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

decongestant de·con·ges·tant (dē'kən-jěs'tənt)
A medication or treatment that breaks up congestion, as that of the sinuses, by reducing swelling. adj.
Capable of relieving congestion.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
decongestant   (dē'kən-jěs'tənt)  Pronunciation Key 
A medication that reduces congestion of the nose or sinuses, usually by causing vasoconstriction.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


any drug used to relieve swelling of the nasal mucosa accompanying such conditions as the common cold and hay fever. When administered in nasal sprays or drops or in devices for inhalation, decongestants shrink the mucous membranes lining the nasal cavity by contracting the muscles of blood vessel walls, thus reducing blood flow to the inflamed areas. The constricting action chiefly affects the smallest arteries, the arterioles, although capillaries, veins, and larger arteries respond to some degree

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
It is generally made by cooking ammonia, lithium and pseudoephedrine, a decongestant.
For example, decongestant drops and sprays may be effective in reducing congestion for a few days.
However, decongestant nasal sprays should only be used for short periods of time, or they can make congestion worse.
They do not relieve symptoms of congestion, which require a second drug, a decongestant.
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