an·​es·​thet·​ic | \ ˌa-nəs-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce anesthetic (audio) \

Definition of anesthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or capable of producing anesthesia
2 : lacking awareness or sensitivity was anesthetic to their feelings



Definition of anesthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a substance that produces anesthesia
2 : something that brings relief : palliative

Other Words from anesthetic


anesthetically \ ˌa-​nəs-​ˈthe-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anesthetic (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for anesthetic

Synonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of anesthetic in a Sentence

Noun The doctor gave him the stitches without an anesthetic. the dentist waited until the anesthetic took effect
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Media coverage highlighted the plight of patients and physicians faced with shortages for cancer drugs, anesthetic agents, and critical care medications. Peter J. Pitts, STAT, 3 June 2022 The suspect, 33, was arrested last week after an anesthetic drug was found in tissue samples of her 9-year-old, who died in January. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2022 Ketamine, meanwhile, was first used in clinical practice in the 1960s as a safer alternative to the anesthetic phencyclidine (PCP), which has been discontinued in the U.S. due to the high incidence of postoperative delirium with hallucinations. Raleigh Mcelvery, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 May 2022 Wider skin tags typically get a topical anesthetic, like lidocaine, to minimize pain, Dr. Evans says. Jessica Chia, SELF, 20 Apr. 2022 At its worst, it has been described as comparable to second-stage labor or the equivalent of cutting off your finger without anesthetic by OB/GYN and pain medicine physician Dr. Jen Gunter. Brijana Prooker, Good Housekeeping, 15 Apr. 2022 This includes maintaining adequate medical records and providing complete diagnostic, pharmacy, anesthetic, surgical, nursing, dental and emergency service facilities. Washington Post, 27 Jan. 2022 Surviving doctors and nurses tried to save their colleagues with emergency surgery in the kitchen, without anesthetic. Jessica Donati, WSJ, 6 Aug. 2021 And anesthetic gases work by a quantum interaction. Andrea Morris, Forbes, 4 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ketamine is used legitimately as an anesthetic, but its non-medical use and clandestine manufacture was concerning to the U.N. agency. Grant Peck, Anchorage Daily News, 30 May 2022 Stamos-Buesig has found that a drug believed to be ketamine — an anesthetic sometimes used recreationally— instead contained meth and cocaine. Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2022 Getting its start in mainstream medicine beginning in the 1960s as an anesthetic for wounded soldiers in Viet Nam, the drug’s usage eventually evolved into one administered by first responders to calm erratic patients in the ambulance. Ronit Molko, Forbes, 19 May 2022 Ketamine is also used as an anesthetic and is listed on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. Alaina Demopoulos, Allure, 19 May 2022 Your doctor can prescribe a cream with lidocaine or another anesthetic to relieve the pain until the tiny tear heals. Rozalynn S. Frazier, SELF, 10 Mar. 2022 Uricalm is an over-the-counter brand of phenazopyridine, a local anesthetic that acts on the urinary tract. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 18 Mar. 2022 The salmon was stunned with an anesthetic and lay motionless. Los Angeles Times, 8 Apr. 2022 The brain itself has no pain receptors and brain surgery is already often carried out under local anesthetic. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 22 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of anesthetic


1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About anesthetic

Time Traveler for anesthetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of anesthetic was in 1823

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near anesthetic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for anesthetic

Last Updated

23 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Anesthetic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for anesthetic


an·​es·​thet·​ic | \ ˌa-nəs-ˈthe-tik How to pronounce anesthetic (audio) \

Kids Definition of anesthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: of, relating to, or capable of producing loss of feeling in all or part of the body an anesthetic cream



Kids Definition of anesthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: something that produces loss of feeling in all or part of the body


variants: or chiefly British anaesthetic \ ˌan-​əs-​ˈthet-​ik How to pronounce anesthetic (audio) \

Medical Definition of anesthetic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : capable of producing anesthesia anesthetic agents
2 : of, relating to, or caused by anesthesia an anesthetic effect anesthetic symptoms

Other Words from anesthetic

anesthetically or chiefly British anaesthetically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce anesthetic (audio) \ adverb


variants: or chiefly British anaesthetic

Medical Definition of anesthetic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a substance that produces anesthesia

More from Merriam-Webster on anesthetic

Nglish: Translation of anesthetic for Spanish Speakers

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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