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side effect

any effect of a drug, chemical, or other medicine that is in addition to its intended effect, especially an effect that is harmful or unpleasant.
any accompanying or consequential and usually detrimental effect:
the side effects of air pollution.
Also, side-effect.
1880-85 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for side effects
  • But nearly all failed because of the difficulties of getting a working gene into cells without also causing harmful side effects.
  • There were some side effects to the development of our skull position.
  • Half of those who participated in the poll expressed concern about possible side effects.
  • The side effects of unrestrained credit growth turned out to be devastating.
  • As far as other treatments, it depends on side effects.
  • Serious chemotherapy side effects can also occur and may vary depending on the specific drugs used.
  • Anticholinergics can have distressing side effects, notably dry mouth.
  • Even patients' level of side effects from arthritis medication seem determined by those patients' beliefs about those medicines.
  • Both of these things have ugly side effects, of course.
  • side effects may include intense pain, extreme vomiting, and absolutely terrifying visions.
British Dictionary definitions for side effects

side effect

any unwanted nontherapeutic effect caused by a drug Compare aftereffect (sense 2)
any secondary effect, esp an undesirable one
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 side effects

side effect


also side-effect, 1884, from side (adj.) + effect (n.). Medical use, with reference to drugs, is recorded from 1939.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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side effects in Medicine

side effect n.
A peripheral or secondary effect, especially an undesirable secondary effect of a drug or therapeutic regimen.

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