an·es·the·sia | \ ˌa-nəs-ˈthē-zhə \

Definition of anesthesia 

: loss of sensation with or without loss of consciousness The patient was given intravenous medication to induce anesthesia. — see general anesthesia, local anesthesia

Examples of anesthesia in a Sentence

The patient was given an injection to induce anesthesia.

Recent Examples on the Web

Previous iterations of this procedure relied on anesthesia to keep the oryx manageably calm. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "New Artificial Insemination Technique Successfully Breeds Critically Endangered Scimitar-Horned Oryx," 10 July 2018 Then the monolith morphed into a single word: anesthesia. Moises Velasquez-manoff, WIRED, "Ketamine Stirs Up Hope—and Controversy—as a Depression Drug," 8 May 2018 The groom was rotating on pediatric surgery and the bride on pediatric anesthesia. New York Times, "Anna Ward, Daniel Frendl," 8 Apr. 2018 Later, driving the red panda back to his exhibit space at the front of the zoo, Dr. Alex Becket, an associate veterinarian, reported that Hoppy seemed to be recovering well from the anesthesia. Karen Weintraub, New York Times, "Doctor, Your Patient Is Waiting. It’s a Red Panda.," 29 June 2018 Hospitals also are grappling with shortages of regional anesthesia — local injections of lidocaine, bupivacaine and a third painkiller standard for eye surgery, orthopedic procedures and knee and hip replacements. Linda A. Johnson,, "The other opioid crisis: Hospitals grapple with prolonged injected opioid shortage," 28 June 2018 Ketamine is a powerful tranquilizer that has long been used by doctors and veterinarians to maintain anesthesia and sedate patients. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Minneapolis Cops Secretly Used 'Date Rape Drug' on Suspects for Years: Report," 18 June 2018 The surgery also means less operating room time and less anesthesia. Julie Maurer, azcentral, "Putting your best foot forward," 4 June 2018 Colonoscopies come with real but rare risks, including complications related to anesthesia and the potential for bleeding or perforations. Korin Miller, SELF, "The American Cancer Society Wants You to Start Colorectal Cancer Screening Earlier," 1 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of anesthesia

circa 1721, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anesthesia

New Latin, from Greek anaisthēsia insensibility, from a- + aisthēsis perception, from aisthanesthai to perceive — more at audible

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about anesthesia

Share anesthesia

Statistics for anesthesia

Last Updated

12 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for anesthesia

The first known use of anesthesia was circa 1721

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for anesthesia



English Language Learners Definition of anesthesia

medical : loss of feeling in a person's body or part of the body through the use of drugs


an·es·the·sia | \ ˌa-nəs-ˈthē-zhə \

Kids Definition of anesthesia

: loss of feeling in all or part of the body with or without loss of consciousness The patient was given an injection before surgery to produce anesthesia.


variants: or chiefly British anaesthesia \ˌan-əs-ˈthē-zhə \

Medical Definition of anesthesia 

1 : loss of sensation especially to touch usually resulting from a lesion in the nervous system or from some other abnormality

2 : loss of sensation and usually of consciousness without loss of vital functions artificially produced by the administration of one or more agents that block the passage of pain impulses along nerve pathways to the brain

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on anesthesia

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


a magnificent or impressive array

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!