epi·du·ral | \ˌe-pi-ˈd(y)u̇r-əl \

Definition of epidural 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: situated upon or administered or placed outside the dura mater epidural anesthesia an epidural abscess



Definition of epidural (Entry 2 of 2)

: an injection of a local anesthetic into the space outside the dura mater of the spinal cord in the lower back region to produce loss of sensation especially in the abdomen or pelvic region

Examples of epidural in a Sentence


Many women undergoing childbirth are given epidurals.

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Before going forward with an epidural, her doctor offered her a VR headset. Meeri Kim, Washington Post, "Virtual reality is being used by hospitals to help people cope with pain," 9 June 2018 At the hospital, after an epidural, Jenn’s labor stalled. Anndee Hochman, Philly.com, "The Parent Trip: Jennifer and Mike Ellis of Flourtown," 6 June 2018 That means a combination of techniques, such as nerve blocks, epidural injections and NSAIDs. Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "Knee and hip replacements are common, but they’re not always fully successful," 18 June 2018 Cross is dealing with a nerve issue in his back that kept him on a couch for nearly a week recently and demanded a fifth epidural shot this year last week. Dave Hyde, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Hyde: Another Dolphins teammate gone, another round of survivors' concerns | Commentary," 21 June 2018 Before going forward with an epidural, her doctor offered her a VR headset. Meeri Kim, courant.com, "Virtual Reality Helps Patients Ease Stress And Pain," 12 June 2018 The 37-year-old had just gotten an epidural when a hospital official, making casual conversation, told her that a woman in labor just a few doors down was hoping to marry at the hospital. PEOPLE.com, "Woman in Labor Officiates Hospital Wedding for Couple Also Welcoming Baby: 'The Stars Aligned!'," 25 May 2018 But finally, with the help of an epidural and around-the-clock treatment, Hill returned in the second half of Game 7 against the Pacers, showing a glimpse of his importance to the Cavaliers' championship hopes. Chris Fedor, cleveland.com, "George Hill has made Cleveland Cavaliers' offense whole once again," 8 May 2018 Stanton resident Stubban, 84, recently visited a Fountain Valley pain-management clinic to receive an epidural for back pain. David Lazarus, latimes.com, "50,000% markup for a shot makes the case for a single-payer healthcare system," 15 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fentanyl has long been used in prescription pain patches and epidurals. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "California orders opioid overdose antidote naloxone available without prescription," 8 June 2018 Fentanyl has long been used in legal drugs, such as in prescription pain patches and epidurals. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "Deaths from illegal opioid fentanyl surge to record in California," 24 May 2018 In most cases, epidurals successfully reduce pain during labor. Korin Miller, SELF, "Chrissy Teigen Wants to Know If She Can Get a Bikini Wax During Her Epidural," 15 May 2018 The idea that epidurals can prolong labor has been around for a while. Korin Miller, SELF, "Does an Epidural Actually Slow Down Labor?," 23 Oct. 2017 Doctors stopped epidurals during the second stage of labor in 38 cases when delivery wasn’t progressing quickly enough. Washington Post, "Epidurals may not make labor last longer," 22 Oct. 2017 Feeling their pain A series of deaths in Japan is fueling misinformation about the safety of epidurals. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "Fighting Sexism with Fake Male Co-Founder, Melania’s Shoe Disaster, and Michelle Bachelet’s Mission," 30 Aug. 2017 Camann, who teaches at Harvard Medical School, said the combined spinal epidural is used for all C-sections, traditional and gentle, performed in the United States. Susan Scutti, CNN, "'Gentle' C-sections are growing in popularity," 13 June 2017

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


1882, in the meaning defined above


1970, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of epidural was in 1882

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English Language Learners Definition of epidural

medical : an injection of a substance into a person's spine to cause the lower part of the body to become unable to feel pain


epi·du·ral | \ˌep-i-ˈd(y)u̇r-əl \

Medical Definition of epidural 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: situated upon or administered or placed outside the dura mater epidural injections an epidural abscess

Other Words from epidural

epidurally \-ə-lē \ adverb



Medical Definition of epidural (Entry 2 of 2)

: an injection of an anesthetic to produce epidural anesthesia

More from Merriam-Webster on epidural

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Comments on epidural

What made you want to look up epidural? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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