Definition of tincture in English:



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

    ‘the remedies can be administered in the form of tinctures’
    ‘a bottle containing tincture of iodine’
    • ‘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).’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They can come in a wide range of formulations - including syrups, tinctures, lotions, inhalations, gargles and washes.’
    • ‘These mention only prescriptions like rhubarb, the blue pill, Dover's powder, tinctures and leeches listed in any contemporary European dispenser.’
    • ‘No, it is not the tincture of laudanum I placed in my thin gruel.’
    • ‘She bought a small bottle of stinging nettle tincture and placed one eyedropper-full twice a day under her tongue.’
    • ‘Skin should be prepared with 1 or 2 percent tincture of iodine or povidone iodine for incision, suture and collection of blood for culture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The second tincture, a combination of common mallow, English yew and yarrow called AMT, tackles the emotional and energetic causes of the condition.’
    • ‘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’
    • ‘To make it go down more easily, she suggests mixing the tincture with a morning glass of orange juice.’
    • ‘A decoction, infusion or tincture of the seeds is useful in nervous debility, hysteria and other nervous disorders.’
    • ‘Podofilox and podophyllum in tincture of benzoin are available.’
    • ‘Our tincture of opium of today was developed from Sydenham's laudanum.’
    • ‘Police discovered ten bottles of barbiturate and amphetamine capsules plus some tincture of Opium in front of the offices in a plastic carrier bag.’
    • ‘Convenient alternatives include tinctures and pills, which are readily available in natural food stores.’
    • ‘In 1944, I used to treat my Parkinsonism patients with tincture of stramonium (from jimsonweed) which was the only drug that we had.’
    • ‘Powdered roots and tinctures are sold in health-food stores and some supermarkets.’
    • ‘The tincture of opium might be useful, I supposed, for despair.’
    solution, suspension, infusion, potion, elixir, extract, essence, quintessence, concentrate
    View synonyms
  • 2A slight trace of something.

    ‘she could not keep a tincture of bitterness out of her voice’
    • ‘The moon cast long fingers across their pale faces, splashing argent tinctures over a thousand powdered cheeks.’
    • ‘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.’
    trace, note, tinge, touch, dash, suggestion, hint, bit, scintilla, impression, air, savour, flavour, element, strand, streak, vein, overtone, suspicion, soupçon, whisper, whiff
    View synonyms
  • 3Heraldry
    Any of the conventional colors (including the metals and stains, and often the furs) used in coats of arms.


be tinctured
  • Be tinged, flavored, 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Each bottle is a half-oil, half-water combination tinctured with various colors using plant and mineral essences.’
    • ‘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.’’


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