Definition of nostrum in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnästrəm/


1A medicine, especially one that is not considered effective, prepared by an unqualified person.
Example sentences
  • This will allow the doctor to help the patient think through the pros and cons of such a decision, to avoid notoriously dangerous or ineffective nostrums, and to monitor for side effects.
  • It wasn't just that he doubted whether such nostrums would deliver the promised effects although he did doubt this very much.
  • When his own nostrums failed to effect a cure, William Griggs, a doctor called to examine the girls, suggested that the girls' problems might have a supernatural origin.
medicine, patent medicine, potion, elixir, panacea, cure-all, wonder drug, quack remedy
informal magic bullet
1.1A pet scheme or favorite remedy, especially one for bringing about some social or political reform or improvement.
Example sentences
  • Rather than rise to the challenge, the trend in intellectual circles has been to adapt to the prevailing rightward shift that has seen the repudiation of all the old nostrums of social reform.
  • Labor's campaign in Aston was a measure of the party's abandonment of its old nostrums of social reform.
  • The problem with sorting out proposed educational reforms is that the nostrums, strictures, and recommendations too often reflect personal dispositions more than disinterested analysis.
magic formula, recipe for success, remedy, cure, prescription, answer


Early 17th century: from Latin, used in the sense '(something) of our own making', neuter of noster 'our'.

Words that rhyme with nostrum


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: nos·trum

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