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[dee-kuh n-jes-tuh nt] /ˌdi kənˈdʒɛs tənt/ Pharmacology
of or relating 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for decongestant
  • 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.
  • Take a decongestant medicine every six hours starting the day before your flight.
  • Over-the-counter decongestant pills or capsules reduces swelling in your sinuses, allowing more airflow.
  • 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.
British Dictionary definitions for decongestant


relieving congestion, esp nasal congestion
a decongestant drug
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
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Word Origin and History for decongestant

1950, from de- + congestant (see congest).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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decongestant in Medicine

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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decongestant in Science
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 Article for decongestant

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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