placebos

placebo

[pluh-see-boh for 1; plah-chey-boh for 2]
noun, plural placebos, placeboes.
1.
Medicine/Medical, Pharmacology.
a.
a substance having no pharmacological effect but given merely to satisfy a patient who supposes it to be a medicine.
b.
a substance having no pharmacological effect but administered as a control in testing experimentally or clinically the efficacy of a biologically active preparation.
2.
Roman Catholic Church. the vespers of the office for the dead: so called from the initial word of the first antiphon, taken from Psalm 114:9 of the Vulgate.

Origin:
1175–1225 for def 2; 1775–85 for def 1; Middle English < Latin placēbō I shall be pleasing, acceptable

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World English Dictionary
placebo (pləˈsiːbəʊ)
 
n , pl -bos, -boes
1.  med control group See also placebo effect an inactive substance or other sham form of therapy administered to a patient usually to compare its effects with those of a real drug or treatment, but sometimes for the psychological benefit to the patient through his believing he is receiving treatment
2.  something said or done to please or humour another
3.  RC Church a traditional name for the vespers of the office for the dead
 
[C13 (in the ecclesiastical sense): from Latin Placebo Domino I shall please the Lord (from the opening of the office for the dead); C19 (in the medical sense)]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

placebo
early 13c., name given to the rite of Vespers of the Office of the Dead, so called from the opening of the first antiphon, "I will please the Lord in the land of the living" (Psalm cxiv:9), from L. placebo "I shall please," future indic. of placere "to please" (see
please). Medical sense is first recorded 1785, "a medicine given more to please than to benefit the patient."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

placebo pla·ce·bo (plə-sē'bō)
n. pl. pla·ce·bos or pla·ce·boes

  1. A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient's expectation to get well.

  2. An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.

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
placebo   (plə-sē'bō)  Pronunciation Key 
A substance containing no medication and prescribed to reinforce a patient's expectation of getting well or used as a control in a clinical research trial to determine the effectiveness of a potential new drug.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
placebo [(pluh-see-boh)]

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.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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