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.”
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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.

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lax·a·tive 'lak-sət-iv adj
1) having a tendency to loosen or relax specif relieving constipation
2) LAX (2)
lax·a·tive·ly adv
laxative n a usu. mild laxative drug

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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.

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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.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laxative — Lax a*tive, a. [L. laxativus mitigating, assuaging: cf. F. laxatif. See {Lax}, a.] 1. Having a tendency to loosen or relax. Milton. [1913 Webster] 2. (Med.) Having the effect of loosening or opening the intestines, and relieving from… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • laxative — (adj.) late 14c., from O.Fr. laxatif (13c.), from M.L. laxativus loosening, from L. laxatus, pp. of laxare loosen, from laxus loose, lax (see LAX (Cf. lax)). The noun meaning a laxative medicine is from late 14c …   Etymology dictionary

  • laxative — ► ADJECTIVE ▪ tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels. ► NOUN ▪ a laxative drug or medicine. ORIGIN from Latin laxare loosen …   English terms dictionary

  • laxative — [lak′sə tiv] adj. [ME laxatif < OFr < ML laxativus < LL, mitigating < pp. of L laxare, to relax, slacken < laxus: see LAX] tending to make lax; specif., making the bowels loose and relieving constipation n. any laxative medicine;… …   English World dictionary

  • laxative — [n] aperient cathartic, purgative; concept 307 …   New thesaurus

  • Laxative — Laxatives (purgatives, aperients) are foods, compounds, or drugs taken to induce bowel movements or to loosen the stool, most often taken to treat constipation. Certain stimulant, lubricant, and saline laxatives are used to evacuate the colon for …   Wikipedia

  • laxative — n. 1) to take a laxative 2) to prescribe a laxative 3) an effective; mild; strong laxative * * * [ læksətɪv] mild strong laxative an effective to prescribe a laxative to prescribe a laxative to take a laxative …   Combinatory dictionary

  • laxative — [[t]læ̱ksətɪv[/t]] laxatives 1) N MASS A laxative is something you eat or drink that makes faeces come out of your body. Foods that ferment quickly in the stomach are excellent natural laxatives. 2) ADJ GRADED A laxative food or medicine makes… …   English dictionary

  • laxative — UK [ˈlæksətɪv] / US noun [countable] Word forms laxative : singular laxative plural laxatives a medicine, food, or drink that helps you to make solid waste leave your body when you use the toilet Derived word: laxative UK / US adjective …   English dictionary

  • laxative — laxatively, adv. laxativeness, n. /lak seuh tiv/, n. 1. a medicine or agent for relieving constipation. adj. 2. of, pertaining to, or constituting a laxative; purgative. 3. Archaic. a. (of the bowels) subject to looseness. b. (of a disease)… …   Universalium

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