A worthless remedy. "Nostrum" is an example of a term that came from medicine, entered the world beyond medicine, fell into disuse in medicine, but is still used outside medicine. A nostrum was a medicine of secret composition recommended by the person who concocted it but with no scientific proof of its effectiveness. A patent medicine (or any quack remedy) was a nostrum. The word "nostrum" entered the English language in 1602 straight from the Latin "nostrum", a form of "noster," meaning "our." It is thought that specially prepared medicines came to be called "nostrums" because their purveyors marketed them as "our own" remedy. A nostrum came to mean any questionable remedy or scheme for improving matters, a pet plan for accomplishing things, a panacea. In this sense, nostrum has been a part of English since at least 1749. In 19th-century England it was written that: "Another party's nostrum is, more churches, more schools, more clergymen." In the U.S. the Democrats might claim that a Republican plan to offer tax relief in the expectation that the benefits will "trickle down" to the poor is an unfair and ineffective nostrum. Or the Republicans might label the Democrats' liking for "big government" as a costly and noxious nostrum.
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General term for a therapeutic agent, sometimes patented but usually of secret composition, offered to the general public as a specific remedy for any disease or class of diseases. Term presently carries pejorative connotation. [L. neuter of noster, our, “our own remedy”]

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nos·trum 'näs-trəm n a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usu. without scientific proof of its effectiveness

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nos·trum (nosґtrəm) [L.] a quack, patent, or secret remedy.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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  • Nostrum — may refer to: Air Nostrum is a regional airline based in Valencia, Spain. Exultavit cor nostrum is a papal bull from Urban IV to the Mongol Ilkhanate leader Hulagu in 1263 1264. Mare Nostrum was a Roman name for the Mediterranean Sea. Pascha… …   Wikipedia

  • nostrum — (n.) quack medicine, c.1600, from L. nostrum remedium our remedy, presumably that prepared by the person offering it, from L. nostrum, neuter of noster our, from nos we, from PIE *nos (see US (Cf. us)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Nostrum — Nos trum ( tr[u^]m), n.; pl. {Nostrums} ( tr[u^]mz). [Neut. sing. of L. noster ours, fr. nos we. See {Us}.] [1913 Webster] 1. A medicine, the ingredients of which are kept secret for the purpose of restricting the profits of sale to the inventor… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nostrum — [n] cure all, often ineffective catholicon, cure, drug, elixir, fix, formula, home remedy, medicine, panacea, patent medicine, potion, quack medicine*, quick fix*, remedy, treatment; concepts 307,311 …   New thesaurus

  • nostrum — ► NOUN 1) a quack medicine. 2) a favourite method for bringing about reform. ORIGIN Latin, something of our own making …   English terms dictionary

  • nostrum — [näs′trəm] n. [L, neut. of noster, ours (< nos, we: see US): ? so called from the seller s calling it “our” remedy] 1. a) a medicine prepared by the person selling it b) a patent medicine of a kind sold with exaggerated claims; quack medicine… …   English World dictionary

  • nostrum — (entrée créée par le supplément) (no strom ) s. m. •   En Normandie, connaître le nostrum, savoir son affaire, être au courant d une chose, DELBOULLE Gloss. de la vallée d Yères, le Havre, 1876, p. 242.    Perdre le nostrum, perdre la tête, ne… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • nostrum — nos|trum [ˈnɔstrəm US ˈna: ] n formal [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: nostrum something of ours ] an idea that someone thinks will solve a problem easily, but will probably not help at all ▪ an economic nostrum …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • nostrum — UK [ˈnɒstrəm] / US [ˈnɑstrəm] noun [countable] Word forms nostrum : singular nostrum plural nostrums formal an idea for solving a problem, especially an idea that is unlikely to be effective …   English dictionary

  • nostrum — noun Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours, from nos we more at us Date: 1602 1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness 2. a usually questionable remedy or… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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