acet·​amin·​o·​phen | \ ə-ˌsē-tə-ˈmi-nə-fən How to pronounce acetaminophen (audio) , ˌa-sə-tə- \

Definition of acetaminophen

: a crystalline compound C8H9NO2 that is a hydroxy derivative of acetanilide and is used in chemical synthesis and in medicine to relieve pain and fever

Examples of acetaminophen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some migraines can be treated with over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin, if taken at the first signs of a migraine occurring. Meera Senthilingam, CNN, "New drug to fight migraine shows promise," 19 Nov. 2019 Other effective pain remedies include placing a cool compress on the injection site and taking pain medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Flu Shot Arm Pain: Why It Happens and What It Means," 26 Oct. 2019 Authorities found a lunch box in his truck that contained medications used to treat inflammation and seizures, as well as acetaminophen, the complaint said. Sarah Horner, Twin Cities, "Charges: Delivery driver went 80 mph, ran red light at time of fatal crash in White Bear Lake," 17 Oct. 2019 For instance, treatment for a fever or headache might include over-the-counter pain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), aspirin, and acetaminophen, Dr. Otsu says. Amy Marturana, SELF, "8 Bronchitis Symptoms Everyone Should Know," 28 Dec. 2018 Zink gives nearly all her patients a handout that explains that taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen -- both over-the-counter drugs -- is often more effective than taking oxycodone, an opioid. Anchorage Daily News, "A pain clinic without opioids? Believe it.," 10 Sep. 2019 Staying away from acetaminophen products while imbibing is quite important, so try to go for aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen to punch your headache. Danielle Guercio,, "5 simple ways marijuana can help you smash a hangover," 26 Aug. 2019 Doctors may recommend acetaminophen or other over-the-counter drugs to relieve fever and muscle aches, along with lots of rest and plenty of water or other fluids. Amanda Macmillan,, "So There's a Measles Outbreak Near You. How Worried Should You Be?," 5 Sep. 2019 The pain relievers people rely on — aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen — were invented generations ago and aren’t always effective for severe pain. Jonathan Saltzman,, "Vertex sets its sights on taming pain," 11 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'acetaminophen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of acetaminophen

1958, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for acetaminophen

acet(yl) + amino + phen(ol)

Note: Shortened from N-acetyl-p-aminophenol. Acetaminophen was introduced as a generic name roughly coincident with the introduction of the trademark preparation Tylenol, which was first marketed as "Children's Tylenol Elixir" in 1955 by McNeil Laboratories. Synthesis of the substance, as acetylamidophenol, was first reported in Berichte der Deutschen Chemischen Gesellschaft, 11. Jahrgang (Jan.-Juni, 1878), p. 232-33 (H. N. Morse, "Ueber eine neue Darstellungsmethode der Acetylamidophenole"). Its antipyretic properties were recognized by the German physician Josef von Mering in the 1893 article "Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Antipyretica" (Therapeutische Monatshefte, 7, pp. 577-87)—he also refers to it as acetylamidophenol.

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The first known use of acetaminophen was in 1958

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Acetaminophen.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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How to pronounce acetaminophen (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of acetaminophen

US : a medicine that is used to relieve pain and fever


acet·​amin·​o·​phen | \ ə-ˌsēt-ə-ˈmin-ə-fən How to pronounce acetaminophen (audio) , ˌas-ət- How to pronounce acetaminophen (audio) \

Medical Definition of acetaminophen

: a crystalline compound C8H9NO2 that is a hydroxy derivative of acetanilide and is used in chemical synthesis and in medicine instead of aspirin to relieve pain and fever

called also paracetamol

— see liquiprin, panadol, tylenol

More from Merriam-Webster on acetaminophen

Nglish: Translation of acetaminophen for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about acetaminophen

Comments on acetaminophen

What made you want to look up acetaminophen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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