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Ancient GreekEdit


Unclear etymology, but most likely derived from Proto-Hellenic *pʰármakon. Cognate with Mycenaean Greek [script needed] (pa-ma-ko /pʰármakon/).

Pokorny (1959) connects it to the Greek root φαρ- as in φάρος (pháros, plough) and φάρυγξ (phárunx, throat), from a Proto-Indo-European *bʰer- (to cut, pierce, scrape), i. e., a medicinal herb or root as something cut off or dug up, cognate with Proto-Germanic *burōną (to drill) – result of a conflation with *bazją (berry) – and Latin ferio (hit, cut, slay, strike). Compare furthermore Latvian burt (to carve (marks, on a tree), to conjure magic).

A Pre-Greek etymology has been proposed by R. S. P. Beekes.




φάρμᾰκον (phármakonn (genitive φαρμᾰ́κου); second declension

  1. A drug, whether healing or noxious
  2. A healing drug, medicine, remedy
    • 46 CE – 120 CE, Plutarch, Moralia :
      τῶν δὲ τῆς ψυχῆς ἀρρωστημάτων καὶ παθῶν ἡ φιλοσοφία μόνη φάρμακόν ἐστι.
      tôn dè tês psukhês arrhōstēmátōn kaì pathôn hē philosophía mónē phármakón esti.
      but for the soul's illnesses and sufferings, the only remedy is philosophy. (
  3. A potion, charm, spell
  4. A deadly drug, poison
  5. A dye, color


Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit