euthanasia

noun
eu·tha·na·sia | \ˌyü-thə-ˈnā-zh(ē-)ə \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from euthanasia

euthanasic \ˌyü-thə-ˈnā-zik, -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

In fact, Czech found evidence that Asperger referred children to the notorious Am Spiegelgrund clinic, a euthanasia facility where 772 children are said to have been killed. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Hans Asperger ‘Actively Assisted’ Nazi Eugenics Policies, Study Claims," 20 Apr. 2018 Those on the opposing side contend that such assistance violates one of the core principles of their profession — do no harm — and could become a slippery slope to euthanasia. Lindsey Bever, Washington Post, "The American Medical Association has long opposed assisted suicide. Is that about to change?," 10 June 2018 Those on the opposing side contend that such assistance violates one of the core principles of their profession — do no harm — and could become a slippery slope to euthanasia. Lindsey Bever, BostonGlobe.com, "American Medical Association to reconsider policy against assisted suicide," 10 June 2018 His injuries from the attack allegedly drove him to euthanasia, according to the Guardian. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Jealous Woman Who Disfigured Ex With Acid, Leading Him to Euthanasia, Gets Life in Prison," 25 May 2018 While the hound was in relativity good health, his heartworm test came back positive and was subsequently placed on the shelter’s euthanasia list. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Ohio shelter dog's 'freedom ride' photo goes viral," 11 May 2018 Gregory was rescued from a Columbus shelter that had the poor pup on their euthanasia list. Sallee Ann Ruibal, Cincinnati.com, "3 headlines you may have missed: Homes for Ochocinco, Cyclones and a pup," 10 May 2018 Lap of Love is a national veterinary hospice and in-home euthanasia service that has its first veterinarian in the Milwaukee area. Lainey Seyler, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "My cat will never die, but in case he does get sick, Lap of Love vet has some tips," 10 July 2018 The American Veterinary Medical Association says canine devocalization should only be performed by a qualified, licensed vet as a last resort to euthanasia after behavior modification fails to stop excessive barking. Lisa Gutierrez, kansascity, "Breeder 'debarked' dogs by shoving a pipe down their throats, Penn. authorities say," 30 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about euthanasia

Share euthanasia

Dictionary Entries near euthanasia

Euterpean

eutexia

Euthamia

euthanasia

euthanize

euthenics

eutherian

Statistics for euthanasia

Last Updated

30 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for euthanasia

The first known use of euthanasia was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for euthanasia

euthanasia

noun

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 \

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 \

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 \ adjective

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on euthanasia

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!