placebo

A patient's symptoms sometimes disappear just because they believe that they are being treated. Even when doctors give them a biologically inactive drug, otherwise known as a placebo, the patients swear they are cured.

In clinical drug-trials, to rule out what is called the placebo effect, scientists give half of the trial participants a placebo. If a government replaces food stamps with a coloring book give-away, it might be dismissed by child advocates as nothing more than a placebo. Placēbō is Latin for "I'll please (you)," in other words, I'll keep you happy, even though I'm just giving you a placebo.

Definitions of placebo
  1. noun
    an innocuous or inert medication; given as a pacifier or to the control group in experiments on the efficacy of a drug
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    types:
    active placebo
    a placebo used in experimental tests of a drug that has noticeable side effects
    type of:
    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine
    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease
  2. noun
    (Roman Catholic Church) vespers of the office for the dead
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    type of:
    vesper
    a late afternoon or evening worship service
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