- Something that loosens the bowels. Used to combat constipation (and sometimes overused, producing diarrhea). The word “laxative” comes from the Latin “laxare” meaning “to open, widen, extend, release.”
* * *1. Mildly cathartic; having the action of loosening the bowels. 2. A mild cathartic; a remedy that moves the bowels slightly without pain or violent action. [L. laxativus, fr. laxo, pp. -atus, to slacken, relax]- diphenylmethane laxatives members of a chemical class of l. agents including phenolphthalein and bisacodyl.
* * *lax·a·tive 'lak-sət-iv adj1) having a tendency to loosen or relax specif relieving constipation2) LAX (2)lax·a·tive·ly advlaxative n a usu. mild laxative drug
* * *n.a drug used to stimulate or increase the frequency of bowel evacuation (also called a cathartic or purgative), or to encourage the passage of a softer or bulkier stool. The common laxatives are the stimulants (e.g. bisacodyl, senna and its derivatives); osmotic laxatives (e.g. magnesium salts, lactulose); and methylcellulose, ispaghula husk, and other bulking agents.
* * *lax·a·tive (lakґsə-tiv) [L. laxativus] 1. mildly cathartic. 2. an agent that acts to promote defecation; see also cathartic. Called also aperient and aperitive.
Medical dictionary. 2011.