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[oh-ver-th uh-koun-ter] /ˈoʊ vər ðəˈkaʊn tər/
unlisted on or not part of an organized securities exchange:
over-the-counter stocks; the over-the-counter market.
Abbreviation: OTC.
Pharmacology. sold legally without a doctor's prescription:
over-the-counter drugs.
Abbreviation: OTC.
Origin of over-the-counter
1920-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for over-the-counter
  • There are two over-the-counter antihistamines marketed as sleep aids.
  • He asked a pharmacist for advice, and an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment cleared it up.
  • It annoyed me to no end to discover my over-the-counter-drug-of-choice required me to register to purchase it.
  • Several contain ephedrine, the active ingredient in a widely advertised over-the-counter asthma remedy.
  • But the market for over-the-counter derivatives such as credit default swaps isn't as sophisticated.
  • It could be an overdose of a prescription drug or an over-the-counter medication.
  • The best way to treat them is with an over-the-counter topical cortisone cream, available at any pharmacy.
  • The tweets also revealed allergy patterns, cancer rates, self-medication behavior and over-the-counter drug misuse.
  • Some other poisons were easily found in many over-the-counter products in stores and pharmacies.
  • Many brands are available by prescription and over-the-counter.
British Dictionary definitions for over-the-counter


  1. (of securities) not listed or quoted on a stock exchange
  2. (of a security market) dealing in such securities
  3. (of security transactions) conducted through a broker's office directly between purchaser and seller and not on a stock exchange
(of medicinal drugs) able to be sold without a prescription OTC Compare ortho- (sense 5)
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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over-the-counter in Medicine

over-the-counter o·ver-the-count·er (ō'vər-ðə-koun'tər)
Abbr. OTC
That can be sold legally without a doctor's prescription.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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