What Does Nocte Mean on a Prescription?

According to the medical dictionary section of The Free Dictionary, nocte is Latin for “at night,” and seeing it on a prescription means that the medication should be taken regularly every evening. Continuing to use selected terms in Latin is a quaint medical custom that still persists around the world.

An elegant review of medical linguistics in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine follows the course of medical terminology from classical times through to the adoption of Latin as the international language of medicine in the Middle Ages. This has provided medical practitioners with a common lexicon of terms that have the advantage of being understood by health care providers from different linguistic backgrounds. However, English is quickly becoming the new medical language; new terms, particularly procedural terms, are now predominantly in English.