prophylactic

Prophylactic might sound like a prehistoric period when dinosaurs roamed the earth, but it actually describes something that can prevent something negative, such as disease. Prophylactic surgery to remove a mole can prevent skin cancer.

If you want to avoid getting sick, you can get a vaccine, take medicine, or have surgery — all of which are considered prophylactic measures. Delve deeper into the history of this four-syllable word and you'll find the Greek term prophulaktikos, which means to "guard before." Prophylactic can also describe a contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy. This use of the word started because condoms, which are prophylactics, were originally designed to prevent disease, not pregnancy.

DEFINITIONS OF: prophylactic

1

adj preventing or contributing to the prevention of disease

“vaccines are prophylactic
“a prophylactic drug”
Synonyms:
preventative, preventive
healthful
conducive to good health of body or mind

adj capable of preventing conception or impregnation

Synonyms:
antifertility, contraceptive
protective
intended or adapted to afford protection of some kind

adj warding off

“"the swastika...a very ancient prophylactic symbol occurring among all peoples"- Victor Schultze”
Synonyms:
cautionary
protective
intended or adapted to afford protection of some kind

n remedy that prevents or slows the course of an illness or disease

Synonyms:
preventative, preventive
Type of:
curative, cure, remedy, therapeutic
a medicine or therapy that cures disease or relieve pain

n contraceptive device consisting of a sheath of thin rubber or latex that is worn over the penis during intercourse

Synonyms:
condom, rubber, safe, safety
Type of:
birth control device, contraceptive, contraceptive device, preventative, preventive, prophylactic device
an agent or device intended to prevent conception
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES