A tonic is something, sometimes a medicine, that makes you feel better or restores you to health. Before doctors prescribed drugs, crooked salesmen sold all sorts of dubious tonics.

Tonic was used to describe all sorts of concoctions that were supposed to make you feel better or livelier. Some helped and some didn’t. Coca Cola was originally marketed as a tonic — back when it is said to have contained cocaine as well as loads of caffeine. These days we might describe a weekend at the beach or a brisk walk as a tonic, meaning it will refresh you. Others might flee to a gin and tonic — an alcoholic drink.

Definitions of tonic
  1. noun
    a medicine that strengthens and invigorates
    synonyms: restorative
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    bracer, pick-me-up
    a tonic or restorative (especially a drink of liquor)
    type of:
    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine
    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease
  2. adjective
    imparting vitality and energy
    synonyms: bracing, brisk, fresh, refreshful, refreshing
    imparting strength and vitality
  3. noun
    lime- or lemon-flavored carbonated water containing quinine
    synonyms: quinine water, tonic water
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    type of:
    soft drink
    nonalcoholic beverage (usually carbonated)
  4. noun
    a sweet drink containing carbonated water and flavoring
    “in New England they call sodas tonics
    synonyms: pop, soda, soda pop, soda water
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    type of:
    soft drink
    nonalcoholic beverage (usually carbonated)
  5. adjective
    relating to or being the keynote of a major or minor scale
    tonic harmony”
    having tonality; i.e. tones and chords organized in relation to one tone such as a keynote or tonic
  6. noun
    (music) the first note of a diatonic scale
    synonyms: keynote
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    (music) the keynote of the scale of C major
    type of:
    musical note, note, tone
    a notation representing the pitch and duration of a musical sound
  7. adjective
    used of syllables
    “a tonic syllables carries the main stress in a word”
    synonyms: accented
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    atonic, unaccented
    used of syllables
  8. adjective
    employing variations in pitch to distinguish meanings of otherwise similar words
    synonyms: tonal
  9. adjective
    of or relating to or producing normal tone or tonus in muscles or tissue
    “a tonic reflex”
    tonic muscle contraction”
Word Family
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