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  1. A medicine which preserves or defends against disease; a preventive.
  2. American usage only (dated) Specifically, a prophylactic condom.
1977, Human Life Center, International Review of Natural Family Planning, Human Life Center, St. John's University (1977), p. 2,
  • It is not clear whether such education is to be directed to homosexuals (for whom prophylactics are not a contraceptive) or to heterosexuals as well (for whom prophylactics are a contraceptive).
1994, Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization Without Sexes: reconstructing gender in postwar France, 1917-1927, University of Chicago Press (1994), p. 96,
  • Given the widespread use of coitus interruptus and male prophylactics as contraceptive practices in France …
  • 2000, Peter Parnell and John Irving, The Cider House Rules: Here in St. Cloud's, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (2000), p. 46,
  • Some men put the on just the tip of the penis: this is a mistake, because the prophylactic will come off.
  • adjective 
    1. prophylactical, Prophylactical.

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