Borrowing from Latin nocēbō (“I will harm”), the first-person singular future active indicative form of noceō (“I harm”), by analogy with placebo. The word was coined by Walter P. Kennedy in a 1961 article entitled “The Nocebo Reaction” (see quotation).
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: nōsē′bō, IPA(key): /nəʊˈsiːbəʊ/
- (General American) enPR: nōsē′bō, IPA(key): /noʊˈsiboʊ/
- Hyphenation: no‧ce‧bo
nocebo (plural nocebos)
- (pharmacology, also attributive) A substance which a patient experiences as harmful due to a previous negative perception, but which is in fact pharmacologically (medicinally) inactive. [from 1961]
1961 September, Walter P. Kennedy, “The Nocebo Reaction”, in Medical World, volume 95, London: Medical Practitioners' Union, ISSN 0025-7621, OCLC 714999966, PMID 13752532, page 203:
- It is somewhat surprising that little attention has been drawn to the existence of the contrary effect [to the placebo] – which I may call the nocebo reaction.
2009 April 25, Stuart Blackman, “Why health warnings can be bad”, in Financial Times:
- In the case of the nocebo, it is negative expectations that become self-fulfilling prophecies.
2014 May 15, Jennifer Welsh, “Researchers who Provided Key Evidence for Gluten Sensitivity have now Thoroughly Shown that It Doesn’t Exist”, in Business Insider, archived from the original on 2 July 2017:
- It seems to be a "nocebo" effect – the self-diagnosed gluten sensitive patients expected to feel worse on the study diets, so they did.