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A preservative against, or remedy for, evil; a panacea sought in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries by folks of all classes and statures in England.

The word's origin is from the Greek alexein, to keep off, and kakon, evil.

A dose against poison was called an alexipharmic, and to ward off contagion was an alexiteric or alexitery.

Reference: Joseph Shipley's Dictionary of Early English.

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