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prophylactic (adj.)

1570s, of medicines, "that tends to prevent or defend from disease," from French prophylactique (16c.) and directly as a Latinized borrowing of Greek prophylaktikos "precautionary," from prophylassein "keep guard before, ward off, be on one's guard," from pro "before" (see pro-) + phylassein, Ionic variant of phylattein "to watch over, to guard," but also "cherish, keep, remain in, preserve," from phylax "guard," a word of unknown origin.

The noun is first recorded 1640s, "a medicine or treatment to prevent or defend against disease;" meaning "condom" is from 1943, replacing earlier preventive (1822), preventative (1901). Condoms originally were used more to thwart contagious disease than to prevent pregnancy. Related: Prophylactical.

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Definitions of prophylactic from WordNet
1
prophylactic (adj.)
capable of preventing conception or impregnation;
Synonyms: contraceptive / antifertility
prophylactic (adj.)
warding off; "the swastika...a very ancient prophylactic symbol occurring among all peoples"- Victor Schultze;
Synonyms: cautionary
prophylactic (adj.)
preventing or contributing to the prevention of disease;
vaccines are prophylactic
a prophylactic drug
2
prophylactic (n.)
remedy that prevents or slows the course of an illness or disease;
prophylactic (n.)
contraceptive device consisting of a sheath of thin rubber or latex that is worn over the penis during intercourse;
Synonyms: condom / rubber / safety / safe
From wordnet.princeton.edu