an·​ti·​cho·​lin·​er·​gic ˌan-tē-ˌkō-lə-ˈnər-jik How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio) ˌan-tī- How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio)
: opposing or blocking the physiologic action of acetylcholine
The more sedating tricyclic antidepressant drugs … are more likely to produce orthostatic hypotension and such adverse anticholinergic effects as urinary hesitancy, constipation, dry mouth, and blurred vision …Patricia N. Prinz et al.
anticholinergic drugs used to treat a broad range of conditions, from overactive bladder to bronchial spasms.Melinda Beck
anticholinergic noun

Examples of anticholinergic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These are often comprised of a combination of a medicine to open airways (a bronchodilator, but commonly a long-acting formulation is used in people with COPD, except those with very mild COPD) along with an inhaled anticholinergic medicine, also called an antimuscarinic. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 14 Oct. 2022 This drug is a cholinesterase inhibitor which works by preventing the normal breakdown of acetylcholine, Dr. Stolbach explains, which then pushes more acetylcholine into the brain's synapses and counters the anticholinergic effects of diphenhydramine. Sarah Jacoby, SELF, 4 Sep. 2020 These regular users were more likely to be women, have less education, have a chronic illness, and regularly take anticholinergic and opioid drugs. Kyla Russell, CNN, 22 Feb. 2023 An article on Monday about unusual symptoms people experienced after eating contaminated spinach described incorrectly the way that anticholinergic plants and drugs affect the brain chemical called acetylcholine. New York Times, 23 Dec. 2022 In Victoria, health officials said the clinical symptoms presented by consumers of the spinach products were suggestive of anticholinergic syndrome. Leo Sands, Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2022 Alkaloid drugs offer a wide variety of medical uses, due to their anticholinergic and antispasmodic properties. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 16 Mar. 2022 Hospital Melbourne, the syndrome can be triggered through the accidental ingestion of anticholinergic agents, including deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), jimson weed, Mandrake root, lupin beans and angel’s trumpet. Leo Sands, Washington Post, 16 Dec. 2022 The second are inhaled anticholinergic drugs, like ipratropium. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 6 Sep. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'anticholinergic.' 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

1942, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of anticholinergic was in 1942

Dictionary Entries Near anticholinergic

Cite this Entry

“Anticholinergic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
an·​ti·​cho·​lin·​er·​gic -ˌkō-lə-ˈnər-jik How to pronounce anticholinergic (audio)
: opposing or blocking the physiological action of acetylcholine


2 of 2 noun
: a drug having an anticholinergic action

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