We all know about the placebo effect. Well, here’s its ugly brother.
nocebo (no-SEE-bo) noun: A substance producing harmful effects in someone because it is believed to be harmful, but which in reality is harmless. [From Latin nocebo (I will harm), from nocere (to harm). Modeled after placebo (I will please).]
Both groups who received nocebos showed elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their blood.” James Morgan; Is Your Pain a Trick of the Mind? The Herald (Glasgow, UK); Jan 12, 2007.
An article with many interesting examples of nocebo effect.
From words at wordsmith.org
P.S. This is one thing I love about English–it’s alive and growing, stealing from any language it can.