1. medicine shaped like a sweet that you suck if you have a cough or sore throat
2. MATHS a shape with four sloping sides
Origin and usage
The word lozenge comes from the Old French word ‘losenge’ meaning ‘diamond shape’. Its use in describing a shape dates back to the early 14th century. Sometime during the 1520s, lozenge began to be used to refer to ‘a tablet of medicine, held in the mouth and dissolved’.
Lozenge is a noun that refers to a geometric shape with four equal sides and four corners. It is sometimes called a diamond or a rhombus. A lozenge can also be a type of medicine used to treat a sore throat or cough that comes in the form of a sweet and is held in the mouth until it melts away.
As a shape, the lozenge is frequently used in design to create patterns. Lozenge patterns are often found on pottery and ceramics, in textiles, on silverware, jewellery and wood inlays.
In some cultures, the lozenge symbolizes bounty because its shape mimics that of a field sown with crops. The lozenge motif can be found in the traditional dress and embroidery patterns of ancient cultures in Eastern Europe. Diamond patterns also appear in ancient Celtic, Ottoman and Phrygian art.
The word lozenge came to be associated with tablets used to ease coughs because the medicine drops were originally formed in a diamond shape. Today, not all cough and sore throat lozenges are made in a diamond shape, but the name remains.
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