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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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 Garland died of an accidental barbiturate overdose months after the tour ended in June 1969 in London. Mike Miller,, "Liza Minnelli Does 'Not Approve' of Movie Starring Renée Zellweger as Her Mom Judy Garland," 14 June 2018 Her widely reported suicide with barbiturate pills while on vacation in the Hamptons July 4, 1965 was the last of her misfortunes. Sarah Moreno, miamiherald, "'My dearest Fidel' film to portray Cold War affair between Castro and U.S. journalist," 6 June 2018 At least 789 children died at Spiegelgrund during the Third Reich, most of them from pneumonia, typically brought on by the barbiturates that would be mixed with sugar or cocoa and fed to the children with the express purpose of killing them. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "Once Viewed as a Savior of Children, Hans Asperger Is Now Called a Nazi Collaborator," 9 May 2018 Nitrogen is not used in states where medically assisted dying is legal; those patients, who are terminally ill, usually drink a huge dose of barbiturates. Author: Denise Grady, Jan Hoffman, Anchorage Daily News, "States turn to an unproven method of execution: nitrogen gas," 8 May 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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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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