de·​pres·​sant di-ˈpre-sᵊnt How to pronounce depressant (audio)
: one that depresses
specifically : an agent that reduces a bodily functional activity or an instinctive desire (such as appetite)
depressant adjective

Examples of depressant in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Your alcohol use is also inflaming your depression, because alcohol is a depressant. Amy Dickinson, Washington Post, 8 Feb. 2024 Identifying the drugs Benzodiazepines are depressants that produce sedation and hypnosis, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and reduce seizures, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Howard Cohen, Miami Herald, 27 Jan. 2024 Around 10 years ago, criminals in Colombia started using it to target tourists, Dr. Castaño said, often mixing it with benzodiazepines, depressants that typically treat insomnia and anxiety, to further incapacitate victims. Genevieve Glatsky, New York Times, 23 Jan. 2024 In high dose experiments, Phenibut and f-phenibut can act as central nervous system depressants [18]. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2023 Phenibut is a central nervous system depressant in high doses [21], so precautions similar to those for overdose of sedatives and opioids are warranted. The Salt Lake Tribune, 16 Aug. 2023 Medical tests on the children uncovered traces of barbiturates and benzodiazepines – two types of central nervous system depressant. Jack Guy, CNN, 21 June 2023 Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and often is laced with other street drugs, including heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and depressants. Alex Groth, Journal Sentinel, 1 June 2023 Xylazine is a central nervous system depressant, which has a sedative effect and depresses breathing, Alixe Dittmore, a training and content development coordinator with the National Harm Reduction Coalition, told CBS News. Aliza Chasan, CBS News, 28 Mar. 2023 See More

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

1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of depressant was in 1876

Dictionary Entries Near depressant

Cite this Entry

“Depressant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


de·​pres·​sant di-ˈpres-ᵊnt How to pronounce depressant (audio)
: a substance (as a drug) that reduces the activity of bodily systems
depressant adjective

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
de·​pres·​sant -ᵊnt How to pronounce depressant (audio)
: tending to depress
especially : lowering or tending to lower functional or vital activity
a drug with a depressant effect on heart rate


2 of 2 noun
: one that depresses
specifically : an agent that reduces bodily functional activity or an instinctive desire (as appetite)
a depressant of intestinal spasm
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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