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over the counter

adverb
1.
not transacted through an organized securities exchange; directly to the buyer or from the seller:
He sold his stocks over the counter.
2.
Pharmacology. without a doctor's prescription but within the law.
Origin of over the counter
1870-1875
1870-75

over-the-counter

[oh-ver-th uh-koun-ter] /ˈoʊ vər ðəˈkaʊn tər/
adjective
1.
unlisted on or not part of an organized securities exchange:
over-the-counter stocks; the over-the-counter market.
Abbreviation: OTC.
2.
Pharmacology. sold legally without a doctor's prescription:
over-the-counter drugs.
Abbreviation: OTC.
Origin
1920-25
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for over-the-counter

over-the-counter

adjective
1.
  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
2.
(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)
adj.
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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7
8
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