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.
Origin of placebo
- Latin placēbō I shall please first person sing. future tense of Latin placēre to please 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”)
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Latin placÄ“bÅ (“I will please"), the first-person singular future active indicative of placeÅ (“I please").