pain·​kill·​er | \ˈpān-ˌki-lər \
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 \ or painkilling adjective

Synonyms for painkiller


analgesic, anesthetic, anodyne

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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

At MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, palliative care specialist Dr. Ishwaria Subbiah now devotes extra time to choosing painkillers as availability changes. Linda A. Johnson,, "The other opioid crisis: Hospitals grapple with prolonged injected opioid shortage," 28 June 2018 Several state and local governments are suing Purdue Pharma for allegedly using deceptive marketing to boost sales of its opioid painkiller OxyContin, deceiving patients and doctors about the risks of opioids. NBC News, "Drug spoon sculpture placed outside drugmaker Purdue Pharma's headquarters," 23 June 2018 Many opioid overdoses involve fentanyl, a painkiller brought into the spotlight most recently after Prince’s death in 2016. Amy Capetta, SELF, "How Dangerous Is Fentanyl, Really?," 18 June 2018 And groups such as the ACP and the American Academy of Family Physicians strongly advise against the use of opioid painkillers such as oxycodone (OxyContin and generic). Consumer Reports, Washington Post, "That aching back is hard to fix, but here are a few things to try," 9 July 2018 Doctors sent her on her way with painkillers and directions to temporarily avoid blowing her nose or playing contact sports, and to cut back on smoking. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "A Woman Fractured Her Eye Socket By Blowing Her Nose," 3 July 2018 A decade later, lawmakers are now proposing that drug company executives found guilty of illegally marketing painkillers should be imprisoned. Barry Meier, STAT, "Reviving an old book to tell a new story about OxyContin, Purdue, and the Sackler family," 6 June 2018 Before the crackdown on PharMEDium, hospitals already were facing critical shortages of the injectable opioid painkillers Dilaudid, morphine and fentanyl, which started with manufacturing delays at pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Pauline Bartolone,, "Safety violations hit compounding pharmacy, worsening hospital painkiller shortfalls," 13 Apr. 2018 Gross sales of narcotic painkillers totaled $8.6 billion in 2016, according to IQVIA, a health care analytics company. Michael Corkery And Katie Thomas, New York Times, "Drug Industry Wages Opioid Fight Using an Anti-Addiction Ally," 8 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

23 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for painkiller

The first known use of painkiller was in 1849

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More Definitions for painkiller



English Language Learners Definition of painkiller

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


pain·​kill·​er | \-ˌkil-ər \

Medical Definition of painkiller 

: something (as a drug) that relieves pain

Other Words from painkiller

painkilling \ -​iŋ \ adjective

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Comments on painkiller

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a private place of worship

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