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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Physic \Phys"ic\, n. [OE. phisike, fisike, OF. phisique, F. physique knowledge of nature, physics, L. physica, physice, fr. Gr. ?, fr. fysiko`s natural, from fy`sis nature, fr. ? to produce, grow, akin to E. be. See Be, and cf. Physics, Physique.]

  1. The art of healing diseases; the science of medicine; the theory or practice of medicine. ``A doctor of physik.''

  2. A specific internal application for the cure or relief of sickness; a remedy for disease; a medicine.

  3. Specifically, a medicine that purges; a cathartic.

  4. A physician. [R.]

    Physic nut (Bot.), a small tropical American euphorbiaceous tree ( Jatropha Curcas), and its seeds, which are well flavored, but contain a drastic oil which renders them dangerous if eaten in large quantities.


Physic \Phys"ic\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Physiced; p. pr. & vb. n. Physicking.]

  1. To treat with physic or medicine; to administer medicine to, esp. a cathartic; to operate on as a cathartic; to purge.

  2. To work on as a remedy; to heal; to cure.

    The labor we delight in physics pain.

    A mind diseased no remedy can physic.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1300, fysike, "art of healing, medical science," also "natural science" (c.1300), from Old French fisike "natural science, art of healing" (12c.) and directly from Latin physica (fem. singular of physicus) "study of nature," from Greek physike (episteme) "(knowledge) of nature," from fem. of physikos "pertaining to nature," from physis "nature," from phyein "to bring forth, produce, make to grow" (related to phyton "growth, plant," phyle "tribe, race," phyma "a growth, tumor") from PIE root *bheue- "to be exist, grow" (see be). Spelling with ph- attested from late 14c. (see ph). As a noun, "medicine that acts as a laxative," 1610s. The verb meaning "to dose with medicine" is attested from late 14c.

  1. Relating to or concerning existent materials; physical. n. 1 (context countable English) A medicine or drug, especially a cathartic or purgative. 2 (context uncountable English) The art or profession of healing disease; medicine. 3 (context obsolete English) A physician. v

  2. (context transitive English) To cure or heal; to treat or administer medicine, especially to purge.

  1. n. a purging medicine; stimulates evacuation of the bowels [syn: purgative, cathartic, aperient]

  2. [also: physicking, physicked]


Physic may refer to:

  • The study or practice of medicine
  • A substance administered as medicine, or the medicinal plant from which it is extracted:
    • Gillenia stipulata, a plant known commonly as Indian physic
    • Jatropha, a genus of plants commonly known as the physic nut
    • Veronicastrum virginicum, a plant known commonly as Culver's physic
  • Physic garden, a type of herb garden with medicinal plants

Usage examples of "physic".

Einstein significantly extended this symmetry by showing that the laws of physics are actually identical for all observers, even if they are undergoing complicated accelerated motion.

Thus, all the while that Galileo was inventing modern physics, teaching mathematics to princes, discovering new phenomena among the planets, publishing science books for the general public, and defending his bold theories against establishment enemies, he was also buying thread for Suor Luisa, choosing organ music for Mother Achillea, shipping gifts of food, and supplying his homegrown citrus fruits, wine, and rosemary leaves for the kitchen and apothecary at San Matteo.

Over the months, in a series of tutorials, Helen had led him through a small part of the century of physics that had separated them at their first meeting, down to the purely algebraic structures that lay beneath spacetime and matter.

The beauty of the system was directly tied to its physics and, for Claude, more importantly, its algorithmic language.

Celeste watched him with restless activity, made him take physic, applied blisters to him, went back and forth in the house, while old Amable remained at the edge of his loft, watching at a distance the gloomy cavern where his son lay dying.

During my stay in Turin, no amorous fancy disturbed the peace of my soul, except an accident which happened to me with the daughter of my washerwoman, and which increased my knowledge in physics in a singular manner.

For Plotinus the Descended world of physics and the Ascended world of the Soul were both integral components of the One World.

He had a deep interest in physics, biology and genetics, ridiculed the idea that man had a special place in the cosmos, did not believe in life after death, individual destiny, or that the mind can exist independently of the body, preferring logical explanations for phenomena, based on experience.

Your records state that you are a leading authority on physical geography and biogeography, not to mention your experience in a wide array of areas--atmospheric sciences, chemistry, oceanography, physics, botany, and microbiology.

A Higgs boson is a theoretical particle that is named for the Scottish physicist Peter Higgs, who suggested it as a way to explain some phenomena in high energy and vacuum field physics.

Rioters had trashed the physics department of the University of California, destroying hundreds of man-hours of work, some of it directly linked to boson research which might have helped fix the anomaly in Florida.

It does, however, I believe, relate to the physics of boson formation and gates.

Father Barbarigo, belonging to the Convent of the Salutation at Venice, whose pupil I had been in physics, came to pay a visit to the rector, and seeing me as we were coming from mass paid me his friendly compliments.

Pliny, inspired with as truly Roman horror of quackery as the elder Cato,--who declared that the Greek doctors had sworn to exterminate all barbarians, including the Romans, with their drugs, but is said to have physicked his own wife to death, notwithstanding,--Pliny says, in so many words, that the cerates and cataplasms, plasters, collyria, and antidotes, so abundant in his time, as in more recent days, were mere tricks to make money.

Physic, Black-root, Tall Speedwell, and Indian Physic, is a certain cholagogue, laxative, and cathartic.