c. 1300, pocioun "medicinal drink, dose of liquid medicine or poison," from Old French pocion "potion, draught, medicine" (12c.), from Latin potionem (nominative potio) "a potion, a drinking," also "poisonous draught, magic potion" (source also of Spanish pocion "potion," ponzoña "poison," Italian pozione "potion"), from potus, irregular past participle of potare "to drink," from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink." A doublet of poison (n.). By early 15c. specifically as a magical or enchanted drink.
It forms all or part of: beer; bever; beverage; bib; bibitory; bibulous; hibachi; imbibe; imbrue; pinocytosis; pirogi; poison; potable; potation; potion; symposium.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pati "drinks," panam "beverage;" Greek pinein "to drink," poton "that which one drinks," potos "drinking bout;" Latin potare "to drink," potio "a potion, a drinking," also "poisonous draught, magic potion;" Old Church Slavonic piti "to drink," pivo "beverage."
c. 1200, poisoun, "a deadly potion or substance," also figuratively, "spiritually corrupting ideas; evil intentions," from Old French poison, puison (12c., Modern French poison) "a drink," especially a medical drink, later "a (magic) potion, poisonous drink" (14c.), from Latin potionem (nominative potio) "a drinking, a drink," also "poisonous drink" (Cicero), from potare "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").
A doublet of potion. For similar form evolution from Latin to French, compare raison from rationem, trahison from traditionem. The more usual Indo-European word for this is represented in English by virus. The Old English word was ator (see attercop) or lybb (cognate with Old Norse lyf "medicinal herbs;" see leaf (n.)).
For sense evolution, compare Old French enerber, enherber "to kill with poisonous plants." In many Germanic languages "poison" is named by a word equivalent to English gift (such as Old High German gift, German Gift, Danish and Swedish gift; Dutch gift, vergift). This shift might have been partly euphemistic, partly by influence of Greek dosis "a portion prescribed," literally "a giving," used by Galen and other Greek physicians to mean an amount of medicine (see dose (n.)).
Of persons detested or regarded as exerting baleful influence, by 1910. The slang meaning "alcoholic drink" is by 1805 in American English (potus as a past-participle adjective in Latin meant "drunken").
As an adjective from 1520s; with plant names from 18c. Poison ivy is recorded by 1784 for a shrub-vine of North America causing an itching rash on contact; poison oak for poison ivy or related species is by 1743. Poison sumac (1817), causing an even more severe rash, is a swamp-border tree noted for the brilliant red of its leaves in fall. Poison gas is recorded from 1915. Poison-pen (letter) was popularized 1913 by a notorious criminal case in Pennsylvania, U.S.; the phrase dates to 1898.
also philter, "love potion, potion supposed to have the power of exciting sexual love," 1580s, from French philtre (1560s), from Latin philtrum (plural philtra) "love potion," from Greek philtron "a love-charm," properly philētron, literally "to make oneself beloved," from philein "to love" (from philos "loving;" see philo-) + instrumental suffix -tron.
"an occasion of drinking" (especially alcoholic beverages); "a liquor or potion drunk, concoction, medical drink," early 15c., potacioun, from Old French potacion, from Latin potationem (nom. potatio) "a drinking; poisonous drink, potion," noun of action from past participle stem of potare "to drink" (from PIE root *po(i)- "to drink").
late 14c., farmacie, "a medicine that rids the body of an excess of humors (except blood);" also "treatment with medicine; theory of treatment with medicine," from Old French farmacie "a purgative" (13c.) and directly from Medieval Latin pharmacia, from Greek pharmakeia "a healing or harmful medicine, a healing or poisonous herb; a drug, poisonous potion; magic (potion), dye, raw material for physical or chemical processing."
This is from pharmakeus (fem. pharmakis) "a preparer of drugs, a poisoner, a sorcerer" from pharmakon "a drug, a poison, philter, charm, spell, enchantment." Beekes writes that the original meaning cannot be clearly established, and "The word is clearly Pre-Greek." The ph- was restored 16c. in French, 17c. in English (see ph).
Buck ["Selected Indo-European Synonyms"] notes that "Words for 'poison', apart from an inherited group, are in some cases the same as those for 'drug' ...." In addition to the Greek word he has Latin venenum "poison," earlier "drug, medical potion" (source of Spanish veneno, French venin, English venom), and Old English lybb.
Meaning "the use or administration of drugs" is from c. 1400; the sense of "art or practice of preparing, preserving, and compounding medicines and dispensing them according to prescriptions" is from 1650s; that of "place where drugs are prepared and dispensed" is recorded by 1833.
1590s, earlier nepenthes (1570s), "a drug or magic potion of Egypt mentioned in the 'Odyssey' as capable of banishing grief or trouble from the mind," from Greek nēpenthēs, from nē- "no, not" (from PIE root *ne- "not") + penthos "pain, grief," from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer." The -s is a proper part of the word, but likely was mistaken in English as a plural affix and dropped. In medical use, "a drug having sedative properties" (1680s).
c. 1200, "medical treatment, cure, healing," also (early 14c.) "substance used in treatment of a disease, medicinal potion or plaster," also used figuratively of spiritual remedies, from Old French medecine (Modern French médicine) "medicine, art of healing, cure, treatment, potion" and directly from Latin medicina "the healing art, medicine; a remedy," also used figuratively.
This is perhaps originally ars medicina "the medical art," from fem. of medicinus (adj.) "of a doctor," from medicus "a physician" (from PIE root *med- "take appropriate measures"); though OED says evidence for this path is wanting and suggests derivation directly from medicus. The sense of "practice, theory, or study of curing, alleviating, or preventing disease in humans" is from mid-14c.
The figurative phrase take (one's) medicine "submit to something disagreeable" is recorded by 1865; that of dose of (one's) own medicine is by 1894. Medicine show "traveling show meant to attract a crowd so patent medicine can be sold to them" is American English, 1938. Medicine ball "stuffed leather ball used for exercise" is from 1889.
It is called a "medicine ball" and it got that title from Prof. [Robert J.] Roberts, now of Springfield, whose fame is widespread, and whose bright and peculiar dictionary of terms for his prescription department in physical culture is taught in every first-class conducted Y.M.C.A. gymnasium in America. Prof. Roberts calls it a "medicine ball" because playful exercise with it invigorates the body, promotes digestion, and restores and preserves one's health. [Scientific American Supplement, March 16, 1889]
late 14c., receit, "act of receiving;" also "statement of ingredients in and formula for making a potion or medicine" (compare recipe); from Anglo-French or Old North French receite "receipt, recipe, prescription" (c. 1300), altered (by influence of receit "he receives," from Vulgar Latin *recipit) from Old French recete. This is from Medieval Latin Latin recepta "thing or money received," in classical Latin "received," fem. past participle of recipere "to hold, contain" (see receive).
The classical -p- began to be restored in the English word after c. 1500, but the pronunciation did not follow. Conceit, deceit, and receipt all are from Latin capere; the -p- sometimes was restored in all three of them, but it has stuck only in the last. The meaning "written acknowledgment for having received something specified" is from c. 1600.