adren·​a·​line ə-ˈdre-nə-lən How to pronounce adrenaline (audio)
: epinephrine

Note: Adrenaline is used in both technical and nontechnical contexts. It is commonly used in describing the physiological symptoms (such as increased heart rate and respiration) that occur as part of the body's fight-or-flight response to stress, as when someone is in a dangerous, frightening, or highly competitive situation, as well as the feelings of heightened energy, excitement, strength, and alertness associated with those symptoms. In figurative use, it suggests a drug that provides something with a jolt of useful energy and stimulation.

He felt a rush of adrenaline as he parachuted from the airplane.
The fans were jubilant, raucous, their adrenaline running high.W. P. Kinsella
My reputation was as a single-day racer; show me the start line and I would win on adrenaline and anger, chopping off my competitors one by one.Lance Armstrong
London's summer antiques scene has been given a massive injection of adrenaline.Town and Country

Examples of adrenaline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For a day of adrenaline, fun, and excitement, visit GoPro Motorplex at 130 Motorplex Drive. Charlottefive Staff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 Stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can wreak havoc on your skin and accelerate the aging process. Dr. Leslie Baumann, Miami Herald, 30 Jan. 2024 Serotonin and adrenaline are at play, Kate Truitt, PhD, MA, MBA, a licensed clinical psychologist and applied neuroscientist in Pasadena, California, tells SELF. Carina Hsieh, SELF, 30 Jan. 2024 Political advertising is a regular shot of adrenaline for the TV business every two years when House and Senate seats are in play. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 18 Jan. 2024 Quitting can be both nerve-racking and adrenaline boosting. Samantha Leal, Glamour, 25 Dec. 2023 Not if you get cut, of course, but the adrenaline of hearing your name is like. . . Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2023 Elevated levels of certain hormones circulating in the body, such as adrenaline and serotonin, can increase heart rate above resting levels. Virginia Singla, Discover Magazine, 15 Dec. 2023 Under certain circumstances, a sudden jolt of adrenaline might cause someone with LQTS to go into cardiac arrest. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'adrenaline.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1890, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of adrenaline was in 1890

Dictionary Entries Near adrenaline

Cite this Entry

“Adrenaline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


adren·​a·​line ə-ˈdren-ᵊl-ən How to pronounce adrenaline (audio)

Medical Definition


adren·​a·​line ə-ˈdren-ᵊl-ən How to pronounce adrenaline (audio)
: epinephrine
recognized by the British Pharmaceutical Codex as the preferred name for epinephrine in Great Britain

More from Merriam-Webster on adrenaline

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