From fie (disapproval), and sick (illness). Literally "disapproval of illness".
Sorry, just kidding.
From the 1755 edition of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary :
PHY'SICK. n. s. [φυσιχη,
which, originally signifying natural philosophy, has been transferred in many modern languages to medicine.]
- The science of healing.
Were it my business to understand physick, would not the safer way be to
consult nature herself in the history of diseases and their cures, than espouse the
principles of the dogmatists, methodists or chymists.
In itself we desire health, physick only for health's sake.
--- Hooker b. v. s. 48.
Use physick or ever thou be sick.
--- Ecclesiasticus xviii:19.
Prayer is the best physick for many melancholy diseases.
He 'scapes the best who nature to repair
Draws physick from the fields in draughts of vital air.
[In common phrase.] A purge.
The people use physick to purge themselves of humours.
--- Abbot's A Brief Description of the Whole World
To PHY'SICK v. a.
[from the noun.] To purge; to treat
with physick; to cure
The labour we delight in, physicks pain.
It is a gallant child; one that indeed physicks the subject, makes old hearts fresh.
--- Shakespeare's Winter's Tale
Give him allowance as the worthier man;
For that will physick the great myrmidon
Who broils in loud applause.
In virtue and in health we love to be instructed, as well as physicked with pleasure.
Also defined in Robert Cawdrey
's 1604 A Table Alphabeticall
- (g) physicke (physick)
- medicine, helping, or curing