- The definition of a placebo is a tablet, liquid, or other form of medication that actually contains no active ingredients, no actual medication or no therapeutic effect.
- When you go to the doctor and claim you are sick but there is really nothing wrong with you and the doctor gives you a sugar pill that has no actual effect except appeasing your complaints, this sugar pill is an example of a placebo.
- When a drug company is testing a new drug and gives one group a real pill and the other group gets a sugar pill, the sugar pill that he gives to the other group is an example of a placebo.
nounpl. placebos or placeboes
- R.C.Ch. the first antiphon of the vespers for the dead, beginning with the word placebo
- a harmless, unmedicated preparation given as a medicine merely to humor a patient, or used as a control in testing the efficacy of another, medicated substance
- something said or done to win the favor of another
Origin of placeboMiddle English ; from Classical Latin I shall please
nounpl. pla·ce·bos or pla·ce·boes
- a. A substance that has positive effects as a result of a patient's perception that it is beneficial rather than as a result of a causative ingredient.b. An inactive substance or preparation used as a control in an experiment or test to determine the effectiveness of a medicinal drug.
- Something of no intrinsic remedial value that is used to appease or reassure another.
- Roman Catholic Church The service or office of vespers for the dead.
Origin of placeboLatin placēbō, I shall please, first person sing. future tense of Latin placēre, to please; see plāk-1 in Indo-European roots. Sense 3, from Late Latin placēbō, I shall please, the first word of the first antiphon of the vespers service (taken from a phrase in the following psalm, placēbō Dominō in regiōne vīvōrum, “I shall please the Lord in the land of the living”). Word History: Like the word dirge, placebo has its origin in the Office of the Dead, the cycle of prayers traditionally sung or recited for the repose of the souls of the dead. The traditional liturgical language of the Roman Catholic Church is Latin, and in Latin, the first word of the first antiphon of the vespers service is placēbō, “I shall please.” This word is taken from a phrase in the psalm text that is recited after the antiphon, placēbō Dominō in regiōne vīvōrum, “I shall please the Lord in the land of the living.” The vespers service of the Office of the Dead came to be called placebo in Middle English, and the expression sing placebo came to mean “to flatter, be obsequious.” Chaucer, for example, uses the phrase on two occasions. In the Summoner's Tale, a friar offers the following piece of advice: Beth war, therfor, with lordes how ye pleye. / Singeth placebo and ‘I shal if I kan,’ “Be wary, therefore, how you deal with lords. / Sing ‘Placebo’ and ‘I shall if I can.’” Placebo eventually came to mean “flatterer” and “sycophant.” In the 1700s, placebo began to be used of prescriptions written by a physician solely to please a patient, as by satisfying the patient's desire to take medicine. In many cases, the patient would actually benefit, thanks to what became known as the placebo effect. Later, placebo came to refer to neutral substances used in controlled studies testing the effectiveness of medications.
(plural placebos or placeboes)
From Latin placēbō (“I will please”), the first-person singular future active indicative of placeō (“I please”).