A medication preparation that is applied topically (onto the skin). An ointment has an oil base whereas a cream is water-soluble. (The word ointment comes from the Latin ungere meaning anoint with oil).
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A semisolid preparation usually containing medicinal substances and intended for external application. O. bases used as vehicles fall into four general classes: 1) Hydrocarbon bases (oleaginous o. bases) keep medicaments in prolonged contact with the skin, act as occlusive dressings, and are used chiefly for emollient effects. 2) Absorption bases either permit the incorporation of aqueous solutions with the formation of a water-in-oil emulsion or are water-in-oil emulsions that permit the incorporation of additional quantities of aqueous solutions; such bases permit better absorption of some medicaments and are useful as emollients. 3) Water-removable bases (creams) are oil-in-water emulsions containing petrolatum, anhydrous lanolin, or waxes; they may be washed from the skin with water and are thus more acceptable for cosmetic reasons; they favor absorption of serous discharges in dermatologic conditions. 4) Water-soluble bases (greaseless o. bases) contain only water-soluble substances. SEE ALSO: cerate. SYN: salve, uncture, unguent. [O. Fr. oignement; L. unguo, pp. unctus, to smear]
- blue o. a grease-based o. containing 20% finely divided metallic mercury, formerly widely used for local application to the skin for the destruction of body lice. Risk is associated with transdermal absorption of mercury and a local dermatitis. SYN: mild mercurial o..
- eye o. SYN: ophthalmic o..
- hydrophilic o. an o. base consisting of 25% each of white petrolatum and stearyl alcohol, 12% propyl glycol emulsified in 37% water by 1% of lauryl sulfate; preserved with paraben. Suitable for the incorporation of numerous drugs intended for local application; a washable o. base.
- mild mercurial o. SYN: blue o..
- ophthalmic o. a special o. for application to the eye that must be free from particles and must be nonirritating to the eye. SYN: eye o., oculentum.

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oint·ment 'ȯint-mənt n a salve or unguent for application to the skin specif a semisolid medicinal preparation usu. having a base of fatty or greasy material

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a greasy preparation, which may or may not contain medication, for use on skin or mucous membranes. Although less pleasant to use than the equivalent cream, it is more effective since it forms an impermeable layer in the outer layer of the skin, reducing evaporation from the surface.

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oint·ment (ointґmənt) [L. unguentum] a semisolid preparation for external application to the skin or mucous membranes, usually containing a medicinal substance. Called also unguent and salve.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ointment — Oint ment, n. [OE. oinement, OF. oignement, fr. F. oindre to anoint, L. ungere, unguere; akin to Skr. a[ n]j, and to G. anke (in Switzerland) butter. The first t in the E. word is due to the influence of anoint. Cf. {Anoint}, {Unguent}.] That… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ointment — (n.) late 13c., from O.Fr. oignement, from V.L. *unguimentum, from L. unguentum (see UNGUENT (Cf. unguent)). The first t emerged in O.Fr. from oint, pp. of verb oindre to anoint …   Etymology dictionary

  • ointment — [n] cream for treatment balm, cerate, demulcent, dressing, embrocation, emollient, lenitive, liniment, lotion, medicine, salve, unguent; concepts 311,466 …   New thesaurus

  • ointment — ► NOUN ▪ a smooth substance that is rubbed on the skin for medicinal purposes. ORIGIN Old French oignement, from Latin unguentum, from unguere anoint …   English terms dictionary

  • ointment — [oint′mənt] n. [ME oignement < OFr < VL * unguimentum, for L unguentum (see UNGUENT): the t in Eng from assoc. with obs. v. oint, to anoint] a fatty substance applied to the skin for healing or cosmetic purposes; salve; unguent …   English World dictionary

  • Ointment — An ointment is a viscous semisolid preparation used topically on a variety of body surfaces. These include the skin and the mucus membranes of the eye (an eye ointment ), vagina, anus, and nose. An ointment may or may not be… …   Wikipedia

  • ointment — n. 1) to apply, rub in, rub on an ointment 2) a skin ointment * * * [ ɔɪntmənt] rub in rub on an ointment a skin ointment to apply …   Combinatory dictionary

  • ointment — [[t]ɔ͟ɪntmənt[/t]] ointments 1) N MASS An ointment is a smooth thick substance that is put on sore skin or a wound to help it heal. A range of ointments and creams is available for the treatment of eczema... I saw his legs being bathed and new… …   English dictionary

  • ointment — noun … OF OINTMENT ▪ tube VERB + OINTMENT ▪ apply, put on, rub on ▪ He put some ointment on the cut. ▪ use …   Collocations dictionary

  • ointment — UK [ˈɔɪntmənt] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms ointment : singular ointment plural ointments a thick smooth substance that you put on sore or injured skin • See: fly II …   English dictionary

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