in·​tu·​ba·​tion ˌin-(ˌ)tü-ˈbā-shən How to pronounce intubation (audio) -(ˌ)tyü- How to pronounce intubation (audio) -tə- How to pronounce intubation (audio)
plural intubations
: the introduction of a tube into a hollow organ or part (such as the trachea or stomach) especially to maintain an open passage or gain access to the interior
endotracheal/nasogastric intubation
… the neonate experienced respiratory distress that required intubation. Paul J. Benke

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Either of these can lead to hospitalization; in the most severe cases, someone may need supplemental oxygen or intubation. Korin Miller, SELF, 25 Aug. 2022 The emergency room is dedicated to current and former cancer patients, and many of the patients admitted to urgent care had especially severe cases of Covid and needed oxygen or intubation right away. New York Times, 9 July 2022 Such cases often require hospitalization and even intubation. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 21 June 2022 Treatment could include supplemental oxygen, breathing treatments and in rare, severe cases, endotracheal intubation. Dr. Michael Daignault, USA TODAY, 14 July 2022 Monkeypox may spread through large, short-range respiratory droplets, and health care providers are encouraged to mask and take other precautions during specific procedures, such as intubation. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 10 June 2022 The intubation wasn’t working, and doctors had found an ECMO machine for Josh at Baylor’s heart hospital. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, 13 Mar. 2022 You’re forced to make these heartbreaking decisions about who gets higher levels of care—intensive care, intubation, mechanical ventilation. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2022 If the person whose sample was sequenced ends up being hospitalized, public health officials must link their sequence to a personal identifier and get data from the hospital on their admission status, ICU status, intubation status, or fatality. ABC News, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intubation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


in- entry 2 + tube + -ation

Note: The term intubation was probably introduced in 1885, in the article "Treatment of Croup" by the Illinois physician Frank E. Waxham (The Chicago Medical Journal and Examiner, vol. 1, no. 6, June, 1885, p. 476). Waxham credits the use of tubes introduced into the trachea as an alternative to tracheotomy to the American physician Joseph O'Dwyer (1841-98). O'Dwyer published an initial report on the procedure as "Intubation of the Larynx," The New York Medical Journal, vol. 42, issue o August 8, 1885, pp. 145-47. O'Dwyer also uses tubage for the technique, after the French term used by the physician Eugène Bouchut, who published an earlier description ("D'une nouvelle méthode de traitement du croup par le tubage du larynx," Bulletin de l'Académie de Médecine, tome 23 [1858], pp. 1160-62).

First Known Use

1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of intubation was in 1885

Dictionary Entries Near intubation

Cite this Entry

“Intubation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Medical Definition



in·​tu·​ba·​tion ˌin-(ˌ)t(y)ü-ˈbā-shən How to pronounce intubation (audio) -tə- How to pronounce intubation (audio)
: the introduction of a tube into a hollow organ or part (such as the trachea or stomach) especially to maintain an open passage or gain access to the interior
endotracheal/nasogastric intubation
The patient's respiratory rate diminished, requiring intubation within 20 minutes after arrival to the emergency department. The Journal of the American Medical Association
That relieves me of the necessity of asking whether he has ever needed intubation—that extreme point where an asthmatic can no longer breathe for himself and needs a tube put down his airways so that a ventilator can do the work for him. Perri Klass, Discover
compare extubation
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