Definition of laxative in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈlaksədiv/


(Chiefly of a drug or medicine) tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
Example sentences
  • If your baby is bottlefed and constipated, your doctor may suggest mixing a small amount of laxative medicine into the formula.
  • That resulted in two stomach pumpings in the same week, and a more unfortunate and embarrassing incident of severe diarrhoea after swallowing 16 laxative pills.
  • When I say hot chocolate, I mean used coffee grounds laced with crushed chocolate laxative tablets and cocoa powder.


A medicine which has a laxative effect.
Example sentences
  • If the diverticulitis is not severe, treatment will be with painkillers, antibiotics, laxatives and dietary advice.
  • When taking a medical history, it is also important to take a dietary history to ask about the use of laxatives or diuretics.
  • Does she take laxatives or diuretics to lose weight?


Late Middle English: via Old French laxatif, -ive or late Latin laxativus, from Latin laxare 'loosen' (from laxus 'loose').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lax·a·tive

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.