adren·​a·​line | \ə-ˈdre-nə-lən \

Definition of adrenaline 

: 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

Tap into your wild side and an adrenaline rush while soaring among the treetops at speeds of up to 35 mph! The Seattle Times, "Secret Seattle: 10 hidden neighborhood hangouts," 15 Oct. 2018 There were periods when Trump would get an adrenaline shot of media attention and would talk at length with Nunberg and Stone about running. Robert Costa, Washington Post, "The Beatles had Pete Best. Donald Trump had Sam Nunberg.," 6 Mar. 2018 Then, when you're both super turned on and your adrenaline is flowing, move onto using the more intense toys. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "I Tried Everything in Lelo's $1,900 Sex Toy Suitcase — Yes, Everything," 31 Aug. 2018 Imagine plunging yourself into the icy, frigid waters of the Arctic with nothing but a one-piece swimsuit, a tight-fitting swim cap, and the rush of your own adrenaline for warmth. Condé Nast Traveler, "Women Who Travel Podcast: A Record-Setting Swimmer on Seeing the World by Water," 20 Aug. 2018 Or is your own adrenaline enough to power this degree of prolificity? Danielle Stein Chizzik, Town & Country, "13 Questions for John Podhoretz, a.k.a the Larry David of Twitter," 21 Apr. 2016 The team and the country are riding a wave of adrenaline in matching the 1998 Croatian team and reaching the semis. Tim Booth,, "Dalic: Croatia have 'power left for the English' after two wins in penalties," 8 July 2018 The team and the country are riding a wave of adrenaline in matching the 1998 Croatian team and reaching the semis. Tim Booth,, "Weary, banged-up Croatia resting up for England in semifinals," 8 July 2018 Your dog may get a rush of adrenaline from the loud bangs and crackles, resulting in the belief that his life is at risk. Stephanie Petit,, "How to Stay Safe While Setting Off Fireworks This July 4th," 4 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'adrenaline.' 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 adrenaline

1890, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for adrenaline

adrenal entry 2 + -ine entry 2

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Last Updated

7 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for adrenaline

The first known use of adrenaline was in 1890

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English Language Learners Definition of adrenaline

: a substance that is released in the body of a person who is feeling a strong emotion (such as excitement, fear, or anger) and that causes the heart to beat faster and gives the person more energy


adren·​a·​line | \ə-ˈdre-nə-lən \

Kids Definition of adrenaline

2 : excited energy Skiing gave me a rush of adrenaline.


adren·​a·​line | \ə-ˈdren-ᵊl-ən \

Medical Definition of adrenaline 

: epinephrine recognized by the British Pharmaceutical Codex as the preferred name for epinephrine in Great Britain

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More from Merriam-Webster on adrenaline

Spanish Central: Translation of adrenaline

Nglish: Translation of adrenaline for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of adrenaline for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about adrenaline

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