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[proh-fuh-lak-sis, prof-uh-] /ˌproʊ fəˈlæk sɪs, ˌprɒf ə-/
  1. the preventing of disease.
  2. the prevention of a specific disease, as by studying the biological behavior, transmission, etc., of its causative agent and applying a series of measures against it.
prophylactic treatment, as the cleaning of the teeth by a dentist or dental hygienist.
Origin of prophylaxis
1835-45; < New Latin < Greek pro- pro-2 + phýlaxis a watching, guarding, equivalent to phylak- (base of phylássein to guard) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for prophylaxis
Historical Examples
  • These studies in pathogenesis and etiology are fundamentally necessary for the development of a rational therapy and prophylaxis.

  • The prophylaxis of yellow-fever is suggested by means of static electricity.

    Makers of Electricity Brother Potamian
  • Richet gave the name anaphylaxis (no protection) to this phenomenon to distinguish it from immunity or prophylaxis (protection).

    The Fundamentals of Bacteriology Charles Bradfield Morrey
  • Only in this way is the prophylaxis of arteriosclerosis possible.

    Arteriosclerosis and Hypertension: Louis Marshall Warfield
  • In prophylaxis of the family the first indication is to stop the production of degenerates.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
  • prophylaxis of the habit is an ethical question that we can scarcely do justice to here.

    Psychotherapy James J. Walsh
  • The prophylaxis of disease is in Alexanders opinion the important part of the physicians duty.

    Medieval Medicine James J. (James Joseph) Walsh
  • prophylaxis of degeneracy in the individual should commence with the birth of the child.

    Degeneracy Eugene S. Talbot
  • The Army regulations as to prophylaxis and the introduction of intoxicants into camps were strictly and honestly enforced.

    Some War-time Lessons Frederick P. (Frederick Paul) Keppel
  • There is a passage, also, almost more interesting with regard to prophylaxis of rupture of the perineum.

British Dictionary definitions for prophylaxis


the prevention of disease or control of its possible spread
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 prophylaxis

"preventive treatment of disease," 1746, Modern Latin, from Greek pro (see pro-) + phylaxis "a watching, guarding" (see prophylactic).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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prophylaxis in Medicine

prophylaxis pro·phy·lax·is (prō'fə-lāk'sĭs, prŏf'ə-)
n. pl. pro·phy·lax·es (-lāk'sēz')
Prevention of or protective treatment for disease.

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