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How to pronounce placebo (audio)


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Dictionary definition of placebo

A medical treatment that has no active ingredients but is intended to elicit a psychological response.
"The placebo group in the study showed a significant reduction in pain symptoms."

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Detailed meaning of placebo

It refers to a medical intervention or substance that is intended to have a therapeutic effect, but does not contain any active ingredients or properties that can directly treat a medical condition or illness. Placebos are used in medical research to control for the effects of a treatment, as they provide a baseline for comparison. When a placebo is administered, the patient may experience a perceived improvement in their symptoms or condition due to psychological factors, such as the belief that they are receiving a real treatment. This response is known as the placebo effect, and it can be a powerful tool in enhancing the effectiveness of a treatment. Placebos can take many different forms, such as sugar pills or saline injections, and are designed to look and feel like a real treatment, without actually containing any active ingredients.

Example sentences containing placebo

1. The patient's improvement was attributed to the placebo effect.
2. Some studies use placebos to test the efficacy of new drugs.
3. Belief in the placebo's power can lead to real symptom relief.
4. The sugar pill served as a placebo in the clinical trial.
5. The doctor prescribed a placebo to ease the patient's anxiety.
6. Placebos can sometimes produce remarkable healing responses.

History and etymology of placebo

The noun 'placebo' has a fascinating etymology rooted in Latin. It is derived from the Latin phrase 'placebo domino,' which means 'I shall please the Lord.' Originally, in medieval Latin, 'placebo' was used to refer to the vespertine antiphon, a part of the Roman Catholic vespers service, which was the first of the daily evening prayer services. The phrase 'placebo domino' was often sung in these services, and it later became associated with insincere flattery or pleasing words offered for ulterior motives. In the context of medicine, 'placebo' evolved to describe a treatment or substance with no therapeutic value, given to patients to elicit a psychological or placebo effect, where the belief in its efficacy leads to a perceived improvement in symptoms. The etymology of 'placebo' thus reflects its historical connection to pleasing or appeasing, underscoring its role in the realm of medical treatment and the power of belief in the healing process.

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Further usage examples of placebo

1. She suspected the herbal supplement was merely a placebo.
2. The placebo group in the study showed unexpected improvement.
3. The placebo injection had a calming effect on the nervous patient.
4. Placebos are often used in double-blind experiments in medicine.
5. The study found that the placebo group experienced similar results to the group taking the active medication.
6. The placebo effect can cause a patient to experience improvement in their condition even when taking a non-active treatment.
7. The placebo pills were indistinguishable from the active medication, allowing for a double-blind study.
8. The placebo treatment in the study was a sugar pill.
9. The placebo effect is a well-known phenomenon in the field of medicine.
10. The placebo group experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms, suggesting the power of the mind-body connection.
11. The use of a placebo in clinical trials helps to control for the psychological effects of treatment.
12. The placebo response can vary among individuals and depend on the type of condition being treated.
13. The placebo group in the study showed a statistically significant improvement in their condition, which was unexpected.
14. The placebo effect can be used to explain some of the improvement seen in patients receiving sham treatments.
15. The placebo group in the study showed a high rate of improvement, indicating the strong influence of the placebo effect.



sham, active treatment, real medication, effective drug


SAT 12 (Scholastic Assessment Test), Advantageous and Beneficial, Treatment and Medicine

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