Word of the Day Archive
Tuesday October 10, 2000
1. A medicine of secret composition and unproven or dubious effectiveness; a quack medicine.
2. A usually questionable remedy or scheme; a cure-all.
James is put to work at country fairs, promoting a quack nostrum for pain relief.
-- Patrick McGrath, "Heart of Ice", New York Times, April 13, 1997
His hopeful message attracted an audience eager to believe he had found the nostrum for all of society's ills.
-- Warren Sloat, "Looking Back at 'Looking Backward': We Have Seen the Future and It Didn't Work", New York Times, January 17, 1988
Old ladies were always offering her their advice, recommending this or that nostrum.
-- Charlotte Brontë, Shirley: A Tale
Nostrum comes from Latin nostrum (remedium), "our (remedy)," from nos, "we."