pain·​kill·​er | \ ˈpān-ˌki-lər How to pronounce painkiller (audio) \
variants: or less commonly pain-killer

Definition of painkiller

: something (such as a drug) that relieves pain

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Other Words from painkiller

pain-killing \ ˈpān-​ˌki-​liŋ How to pronounce pain-killing (audio) \ or painkilling adjective

Synonyms for painkiller


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Examples of painkiller in a Sentence

I took some over-the-counter painkillers for my headache. a lot of painkillers have turned out to be addictive substances for patients
Recent Examples on the Web Nationally, millions of people have died in the opioid overdose crisis, using prescription painkillers and similar street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Erin Allday,, "Chronicle exclusive: Bay Area death toll from drug overdoses passes 10,000," 30 Nov. 2019 At least a half-dozen companies that manufacture or distribute prescription opioid painkillers are facing a federal criminal investigation of their roles in a nationwide addiction and overdose crisis. CBS News, "Drugmakers, distributors said to face federal opioid probe," 27 Nov. 2019 With all these people on the road, safety advocates are advising drivers to stay clear of alcohol, drugs like marijuana, and opioid painkillers. Mary Wisniewski,, "Rainy, gusty weather, bigger crowds could complicate Thanksgiving travel," 26 Nov. 2019 Priel’s research team, another recipient of a grant provided through the Brause Family Initiative, is working to develop novel analgesics — painkillers — that will have a potency similar to opioids but with minimal side effects. Shelley A. Sackett,, "Israeli researchers offer new hope for cancer survivors suffering from side effects of treatment," 26 Nov. 2019 Camellia would not think of allowing him to be admitted to the hospital, but nursed him in the front room until there was nothing to do but give him painkillers. Ellen Barry, New York Times, "The Jungle Prince of Delhi," 22 Nov. 2019 Mundipharma tells doctors that time-release painkillers like OxyContin are less addictive than other opioids — the same pitch that Purdue Pharma, the U.S. company owned by the family, admitted was false in court more than a decade ago. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Purdue affiliate in China pushes misleading opioid claims; more generics are approved but not yet available," 20 Nov. 2019 In 2004, Purdue Pharma was facing a threat to sales of its blockbuster opioid painkiller OxyContin, which were approaching $2 billion a year. David Armstrong, ProPublica, "Inside Purdue Pharma’s Media Playbook: How It Planted the Opioid “Anti-Story”," 19 Nov. 2019 In a series of studies, an eight-week course in mindfulness techniques appeared to loosen the grip of addiction in people who had been taking prescription painkillers for years and experienced powerful cravings for the drugs. Melissa Healystaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Opioid addiction can be overcome with mindfulness, study suggests," 17 Oct. 2019

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

1849, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for painkiller

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The first known use of painkiller was in 1849

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Statistics for painkiller

Last Updated

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Painkiller.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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More Definitions for painkiller


How to pronounce painkiller (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of painkiller

: a drug that decreases or removes pain that you feel in your body


pain·​kill·​er | \ -ˌkil-ər How to pronounce painkiller (audio) \

Medical Definition of painkiller

: something (as a drug) that relieves pain

Other Words from painkiller

painkilling \ -​iŋ How to pronounce painkilling (audio) \ adjective

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