Definition of tincture in English:



  • 1A medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol.

    ‘the remedies can be administered in form of tinctures’
    mass noun ‘a bottle containing tincture of iodine’
    • ‘They can come in a wide range of formulations - including syrups, tinctures, lotions, inhalations, gargles and washes.’
    • ‘In 1944, I used to treat my Parkinsonism patients with tincture of stramonium (from jimsonweed) which was the only drug that we had.’
    • ‘No, it is not the tincture of laudanum I placed in my thin gruel.’
    • ‘The tincture of opium might be useful, I supposed, for despair.’
    • ‘The second tincture, a combination of common mallow, English yew and yarrow called AMT, tackles the emotional and energetic causes of the condition.’
    • ‘She bought a small bottle of stinging nettle tincture and placed one eyedropper-full twice a day under her tongue.’
    • ‘Police discovered ten bottles of barbiturate and amphetamine capsules plus some tincture of Opium in front of the offices in a plastic carrier bag.’
    • ‘Podofilox and podophyllum in tincture of benzoin are available.’
    • ‘Skin should be prepared with 1 or 2 percent tincture of iodine or povidone iodine for incision, suture and collection of blood for culture.’
    • ‘Powdered roots and tinctures are sold in health-food stores and some supermarkets.’
    • ‘For instance, as a way of warding off grey hair, our anonymous beautician suggests a tonic of 1oz of castor oil, tincture of jaborandi (an American shrub) and 3oz of bay rum, applied every other night.’
    • ‘Our tincture of opium of today was developed from Sydenham's laudanum.’
    • ‘During the nineteenth century, laudanum, made from a tincture of opium, was a popular sleeping aid, but it was known to be fatal in large doses.’
    • ‘A decoction, infusion or tincture of the seeds is useful in nervous debility, hysteria and other nervous disorders.’
    • ‘Convenient alternatives include tinctures and pills, which are readily available in natural food stores.’
    • ‘These mention only prescriptions like rhubarb, the blue pill, Dover's powder, tinctures and leeches listed in any contemporary European dispenser.’
    • ‘As to the tincture of opium (commonly called laudanum) that might certainly intoxicate if a man could bear to take enough of it; but why?’
    • ‘To make it go down more easily, she suggests mixing the tincture with a morning glass of orange juice.’
    • ‘Having said that, my last ear infection was treated in part with a tincture of vinegar and medicine suspended in oil (yes, I dropped vinaigrette in my ear).’
    • ‘It promises relief but beware - read the notes on the box before taking the tincture or you could finish up with more ailments than a raging hypochondriac’
    solution, suspension, infusion, potion, elixir, extract, essence, quintessence, concentrate
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    1. 1.1British informal An alcoholic drink.
      ‘he's a rough diamond, especially after a tincture or two’
      • ‘Thus, I read last week that Denis had been in the habit of referring to drinks by a number of peculiar names such as tinctures or even snorterinos.’
      • ‘On a lunch-time it's never been easier to walk up the Shambles and its lying-in-wait cobbles since the early hours of the morning when balance aforethought may have been slightly influenced by a few tipsy tinctures.’
      • ‘All I do is play interminable rounds of golf, quaff the odd tincture or two, fiddle a bit on the heavenly exchange, and so on.’
      alcoholic drink, strong drink, drink, liquor, intoxicant
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  • 2A slight trace of something.

    ‘she could not keep a tincture of bitterness out of her voice’
    • ‘This is a rather odd interpretation of the film since the barest tincture of right-wing patriotism as a theme is nowhere to be found in it.’
    • ‘The moon cast long fingers across their pale faces, splashing argent tinctures over a thousand powdered cheeks.’
    trace, note, tinge, touch, dash, suggestion, hint, bit, scintilla, impression, air, savour, flavour, element, strand, streak, vein, overtone, suspicion, soupçon, whisper, whiff
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  • 3Heraldry
    Any of the conventional colours (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.


be tinctured
  • Be tinged or imbued with a slight amount of.

    ‘Arthur's affability was tinctured with faint sarcasm’
    • ‘In her novels, however, Ford presented a more complicated message: one that more fully developed both sides of the culturally tinctured Baptist message for women.’
    • ‘Increasingly, however, his unionism and his commitment to property right were tinctured with a strong national feeling: this was encouraged by the haphazard nature of government action during the years of the Great Famine.’
    • ‘In 1851 the Geelong Advertiser reported: ‘Gold is revolutionising manners and language - everything is tinctured with the yellow hue, and ounces, and grains, have become familiar words.’’
    • ‘Each bottle is a half-oil, half-water combination tinctured with various colors using plant and mineral essences.’
    • ‘Every temple has a biwa tree somewhere in its precincts for just such use; the sliced leaves thus tinctured make a superior topical medicine as well, excellent for, among many things, taking the itch out of mosquito bites.’


Late Middle English (denoting a dye or pigment): from Latin tinctura ‘dyeing’, from tingere ‘to dye or colour’. tincture (sense 2 of the noun) (early 17th century) comes from the obsolete sense ‘imparted quality’, likened to a tint imparted by a dye.