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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
  • Taking malaria prophylaxis makes more sense for those countries, depending on where the visitor is headed.
  • But prophylaxis works, by definition, on the healthy.
  • Puerperal fever came to be acknowledged to have one cause, an iatrogenic cause, absence of physician prophylaxis.
  • Using a hospital-based anesthesia adds thousands of dollars to the cost of a simple dental examination and prophylaxis.
  • But the fact that there is a new form of prophylaxis reopens old questions.
  • The dentist- the great profile-corrector and prophylaxis champion- is exposed as a secret gobbler of sweets.
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
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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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