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 Not long ago, Tiki was an Illinois shelter dog, marked aggressive and likely destined for euthanasia. René A. Guzman, ExpressNews.com, "Extreme Dogs leap back to the Stock Show & Rodeo," 9 Feb. 2020 Previously, such cats were candidates for euthanasia. Andrea Sachs, chicagotribune.com, "‘These are working cats’: Meet the feral felines tasked with hunting rodents," 5 Nov. 2019 Wyoming Rock Springs: Two residents are trying to end the use of a gas chamber for euthanasia at an animal shelter. USA TODAY, "Titanic auction, Legos, mighty Mississippi: News from around our 50 states," 22 July 2019 Many health experts — in Belgium and beyond — dispute whether mental health illnesses should be considered a valid justification for euthanasia. Maria Cheng, The Seattle Times, "Europe’s top rights court to hear Belgian euthanasia case," 8 Jan. 2019 The issue is a particularly sensitive topic in a country where the last time euthanasia was part of public policy it was used by the Nazis to kill more than 200,000 people with physical and mental disabilities. Fox News, "Germany high court rules assisted suicide ban unconstitutional," 27 Feb. 2020 Nitschke, 70, has been a euthanasia advocate for decades. Amanda Erickson, Washington Post, "A euthanasia expert just unveiled his ‘suicide machine’ at an Amsterdam funeral fair," 15 Apr. 2018 The euthanasia figure has dropped from 3.7 million a decade ago, and dramatically decreased from the 1970s when the number of cats and dogs euthanized in the U.S. was more than 20 million, according to the report. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, "Animal rescues watch over animals in need, but no one's watching them. That could change.," 8 Dec. 2019 Suicide to prevent suffering is seen by euthanasia supporters as not only acceptable but optimal, perhaps the best way to die. Wesley J. Smith, National Review, "Dark Anniversary: The State of Assisted Suicide 25 Years after Measure 16," 19 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for euthanasia

Time Traveler

The first known use of euthanasia was in 1605

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Statistics for euthanasia

Last Updated

17 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Euthanasia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/euthanasia. Accessed 29 Mar. 2020.

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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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