AskDefine | Define ointment

Dictionary Definition



1 semisolid preparation (usually containing a medicine) applied externally as a remedy or for soothing an irritation [syn: unction, unguent, balm, salve]
2 toiletry consisting of any of various substances resembling cream that have a soothing and moisturizing effect when applied to the skin [syn: cream, emollient]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a thick viscous preparation for application to the skin, often containing medication



Extensive Definition

An ointment is a viscous semisolid preparation used topically on a variety of body surfaces. These include the skin and the mucus membranes of the eye (an eye ointment), vagina, anus, and nose. An ointment may or may not be medicated.


The vehicle of an ointment is known as ointment base. The choice of a base depends upon the clinical indication for the ointment, and the different types of ointment bases are:
  1. Hydrocarbon bases. e.g. hard paraffin, soft paraffin.
  2. Absorption bases. e.g. wool fat, beewax.
  3. Water soluble bases. e.g. macrogols 200,300,400.
Properties which affect choice of an ointment base are:
  1. Stability
  2. Penetrability
  3. Solvent property
  4. Irritant effects
  5. Ease of application and removal

Methods of preparation of ointments

Trituration: In this finely subdivided insoluble medicaments are evenly distributed by grinding with a small amount of the base followed by dilution with gradually increasing amounts of the base.
Fusion: In this method the ingredients are melted together in descending order of their melting points and stirred to ensure homogenity

External links

ointment in Arabic: مرهم
ointment in German: Salbe
ointment in French: Pommade
ointment in Latin: Unguentum
ointment in Limburgan: Zalf
ointment in Dutch: Zalf
ointment in Japanese: 軟膏剤
ointment in Norwegian: Salver
ointment in Polish: Maść (medycyna)
ointment in Portuguese: pomada
ointment in Russian: Мазь

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

balm, balsam, blunt, boodle, brass, bread, brilliantine, bucks, cabbage, cerate, chips, chrism, chrismal, chrismation, chrismatory, chrisom, cold cream, collyrium, cream, demulcent, dinero, dough, dressing, embrocation, emollient, extreme unction, eye-lotion, eyewash, eyewater, face cream, gelt, gilt, grease, green, green stuff, hand lotion, inunction, inunctum, jack, kale, lanolin, last rites, lenitive, liniment, lotion, mazuma, moolah, mopus, nard, oil, oil of palms, oof, ooftish, petrolatum, pomade, pomatum, rhino, rocks, sacramental anointment, sacred unction, salve, shekels, simoleons, soothing syrup, spikenard, spondulics, sugar, the needful, tin, unction, unguent, unguentum, viaticum, vulnerary, wampum
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