bar·​bi·​tu·​rate | \ bär-ˈbi-chə-rət , -ˌrāt; ˌbär-bə-ˈtyu̇r-ət, -ˈtu̇r-, -ˌāt; nonstandard bär-ˈbi-chə-wət\

Definition of barbiturate

1 : a salt or ester of barbituric acid
2 : any of various derivatives of barbituric acid (such as phenobarbital) that are used especially as sedatives, hypnotics, and antispasmodics and are often addictive

Examples of barbiturate in a Sentence

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The toxicological analysis determined the cause of death: acute barbiturate poisoning. Maude Campbell, Popular Mechanics, "The Complete History of the Autopsy," 26 Dec. 2018 While 31 states have the death penalty, more than half of executions in the U.S. this year were carried out by Texas, whose single-drug protocol uses a lethal dose of the barbiturate pentobarbital. Jacob Gershman, WSJ, "Nebraska Set to Use Drug Cocktail That Includes Fentanyl in Execution Tuesday," 13 Aug. 2018 Sodium thiopental, the barbiturate used in the injection that killed Brooks, and pancuronium bromide are typically used in medical settings to anesthetize patients — they were not designed for use in lethal injection procedures. Abdullah Shihipar, Teen Vogue, "Lethal Injection Drugs and the Death Penalty, Explained," 30 Oct. 2018 That winter, my mother checked into a psychiatric hospital in Connecticut to negotiate her withdrawal from Seconal, a barbiturate she’d been prescribed as a sleeping pill. Fernanda Eberstadt, Vogue, "Wild, Free, and Utterly Lost—Writer Fernanda Eberstadt on the Panic and Pitfalls of Post-Collegiate Life," 30 July 2018 Amid speculation about its ability to carry out the flurry of new executions on the calendar, state records show the Texas prison system in recent weeks received 15 more doses of the powerful barbiturate used in its Huntsville death chamber. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "With 7 execution dates on the calendar, Texas just got more lethal injection drugs," 6 July 2018 Doctors say Goodall plans to take his life with an injection of the barbiturate pentobarbitol, a chemical often used as an anesthetic but which is lethal at excessive doses. Washington Post, "104-year-old Australian promotes right to assisted suicide," 10 May 2018 Currently, the Lone Star State uses a single drug, the barbiturate pentobarbital, in its executions. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Arkansas death row inmates want to know where Texas gets its death drugs," 26 June 2018 Garland died a few months after those London performances due to an accidental overdose of barbiturates. Megan Friedman, Harper's BAZAAR, "Liza Minnelli Does Not Approve of Renée Zellweger’s Judy Garland Biopic," 15 June 2018

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

1868, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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barbituric acid



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Last Updated

6 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for barbiturate

The first known use of barbiturate was in 1868

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English Language Learners Definition of barbiturate

medical : any of various drugs that are used to calm people or to make them sleep


bar·​bi·​tu·​rate | \ bär-ˈbich-ə-rət , -ˌrāt; ˌbär-bə-ˈt(y)u̇r-ət , -ˈt(y)u̇(ə)r-ˌāt\

Medical Definition of barbiturate

1 : a salt or ester of barbituric acid
2 : any of various derivatives of barbituric acid (as phenobarbital) that are used especially as sedatives, hypnotics, and antispasmodics and are often addictive

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Nglish: Translation of barbiturate for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about barbiturate

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