euthanasia

noun
eu·​tha·​na·​sia | \ ˌyü-thə-ˈnā-zh(ē-)ə How to pronounce euthanasia (audio) \

Definition of euthanasia

: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

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Other Words from euthanasia

euthanasic \ ˌyü-​thə-​ˈnā-​zik How to pronounce euthanasic (audio) , -​sik \ adjective

Where does euthanasia come from?

Euthanasia is a mass noun (or noncount noun), that is, a noun used only in the singular form.

The word comes from the Greek euthanatos, which means “easy death.” In English, euthanasia has been used in exactly this sense since the early seventeenth century, when Francis Bacon described the phenomenon as “after the fashion and semblance of a kindly & pleasant sleepe.” Nowadays, the word usually refers to the means of attaining such a death.

Examples of euthanasia in a Sentence

a physician who refuses to practice euthanasia
Recent Examples on the Web But OC Animal Care says the program, which is known as Return to Field, spares strays’ lives and reduces euthanasia rates. Ben Brazil, Daily Pilot, "Unhappy with a program that releases sheltered felines, animal activists send a cease and desist letter," 19 Oct. 2019 On the darker side, the theme of euthanasia is broached, like everything else, with delicacy and maturity. Jonathan Holland, The Hollywood Reporter, "'And the Birds Rained Down' ('Il pleuvait des oiseaux'): Film Review | San Sebastián 2019," 1 Oct. 2019 To reduce euthanasia rates, management discouraged field officers from impounding strays. Alicia Parlapiano, New York Times, "Why Euthanasia Rates at Animal Shelters Have Plummeted," 3 Sep. 2019 About 30 to 40 dogs are at risk for euthanasia Friday unless fosters and adopters step in, according to a Facebook post from the shelter. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Heartbreaking video shows puppies found in plastic trash bag at Harris County Animal Shelter," 6 Sep. 2019 Every day our transport team receives dozens of gut-wrenching messages from rescue organizations in the South, begging us to take homeless animals who face euthanasia in their shelters simply due to lack of space. Janelle Dixon, Twin Cities, "Janelle Dixon: Transporting homeless animals from overcrowded southern shelters saves lives," 31 July 2019 In New York, the law was backed by the Humane Society of the United States and opposed by the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, which argued declawing should remain an option when the alternative is abandonment or euthanasia. orlandosentinel.com, "Declawing cats would be largely outlawed under Florida bill," 2 Aug. 2019 Do low rates spell euthanasia or euphoria for those who live off capital? The Economist, "Should egalitarians fear low interest rates?," 11 July 2019 While there is always a risk of euthanasia at a city animal shelter, ACS works hard to keep their life release rate above 90 percent. Cathy M. Rosenthal, ExpressNews.com, "What do you do if you have to rehome a pet," 2 Aug. 2019

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

1605, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for euthanasia

Greek, easy death, from euthanatos, from eu- + thanatos death — more at thanatos

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Statistics for euthanasia

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for euthanasia

The first known use of euthanasia was in 1605

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More Definitions for euthanasia

euthanasia

noun
How to pronounce euthanasia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of euthanasia

: the act or practice of killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering

euthanasia

noun
eu·​tha·​na·​sia | \ ˌyü-thə-ˈnā-zh(ē-)ə How to pronounce euthanasia (audio) \

Medical Definition of euthanasia

: the act or practice of causing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured individuals (such as persons or domestic animals) in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

called also mercy killing

euthanasia

noun
eu·​tha·​na·​sia | \ ˌyü-thə-ˈnā-zhə How to pronounce euthanasia (audio) \

Legal Definition of euthanasia

: the act or practice of killing or permitting the death of hopelessly sick or injured persons in a relatively painless way for reasons of mercy

called also mercy killing

Other Words from euthanasia

euthanasic \ -​ˈnā-​zik, -​sik How to pronounce euthanasic (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on euthanasia

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