Thursday, July 11, 2024


Eye of Horus
The other day I was looking at one of my prescriptions (my inhaler for my COPD), and I noticed it had written on it "Rx only." Which I knew meant "prescription only." 

I've probably seen that Rx thing all my life and knew since I was a kid that it meant "prescription." But on that day, I thought, "Why does 'Rx' mean 'prescription'?" I'd literally never thought about. But prescription doesn't start with "r" and has no "x" in it. Why?

Well, Google to the rescue....

Sort of. When I googled "Rx" I got a lot of sponsored links to places wanting to sell me prescription medicine. But I finally found the answer.

One source claims it goes back to the Egyptian Eye of Horus, "a powerful symbol associated with protection and healing was used in medicinal and protective contexts."

In Latin, the word for "take" is "recipe" (that's interesting in of itself). As in "take this stuff to feel better." The word "recipe" was shortened to "Rx." Which makes a lot more sense than shortening prescription to "Rx." 

In medieval times, the "Rx" was stylized as we still see it today:

What do you think of "Rx" meaning prescription? Does it make sense now? Let me know in the comments below.

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