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 euthanasia (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 Adoptions have been going so well that the no-kill shelter has been taking in hard-to-adopt animals targeted for euthanasia at other Indiana shelters and is still finding homes for them. John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star, "'Flying out the door': With adoptions up and donations down, animal shelters look to 2021," 30 Dec. 2020 The backlog of livestock, particularly in the hog sector, which operates on a near just-in-time basis, led to the dire prospect of euthanasia and depopulation. Jayson L. Lusk And Michael D. Boehlje, WSJ, "For Farmers and Consumers, a Crazy Year in Food," 16 Dec. 2020 Other countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia. Nick Perry, USA TODAY, "New Zealand votes to legalize euthanasia for adults with terminal illnesses," 30 Oct. 2020 Other countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia. Nick Perry, USA TODAY, "New Zealand votes to legalize euthanasia for adults with terminal illnesses," 30 Oct. 2020 The method usually involves deep sedation so the animal is fully unconscious or ‘asleep’ before administering the euthanasia solution. al, "Stranded sperm whale moves north in Mobile Bay," 23 Nov. 2020 The agency is at a standstill, partly because options like euthanasia or slaughter face intense backlash. Britta Lokting, Washington Post, "In the West, wild horses are an out-of-control problem — and ranchers and animal rights activists are locked in conflict over their fate," 18 Nov. 2020 In tragic narratives, this quest fails, and the characters either die or request euthanasia as a gesture of love toward their caretakers. Magda Romanska, The Conversation, "On screen and on stage, disability continues to be depicted in outdated, cliched ways," 2 Nov. 2020 Other countries that allow some form of euthanasia include The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Belgium and Colombia. Nick Perry, USA TODAY, "New Zealand votes to legalize euthanasia for adults with terminal illnesses," 30 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for euthanasia

Time Traveler

The first known use of euthanasia was in 1605

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Statistics for euthanasia

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Euthanasia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euthanasia. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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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 euthanasia (audio) \ adjective

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Comments on euthanasia

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