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

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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

Pfizer expects to lose U.S. exclusivity of Lyrica, a painkiller for helping with diabetic nerve pain and fibromyalgia, as early as December. Allison Prang, WSJ, "Pfizer to Reorganize Business Units," 11 July 2018 Chambers is part of a phalanx of veterans advocating for recognition of cannabis as a safe and effective painkiller to relieve the mental aches and physical wounds of war. Patrik Jonsson, The Christian Science Monitor, "As war vets enter the fray, stigma lessens around cannabis," 5 July 2018 Piece of cake Fentanyl was first developed in 1960 as a powerful painkiller and surgery anesthetic without the side effect of nausea. Kristina Davis,, "Fentanyl has taken over America's drug market. Where is it coming from?," 17 June 2018 Maybe a pill for heart burn and another for birth control, or one for high blood pressure and another as a painkiller. Scott Berson, miamiherald, "Millions take pills for common health problems. They may be causing depression, study says," 13 June 2018 Making a long-duration painkiller meant concentrating more narcotic into each individual pill. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Purdue Pharma Knew Its Opioids Were Widely Abused by Late ’90s," 29 May 2018 Fatalities jumped last year due to overdoses , many of them on prescription painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin, now standing at 63,600 nationwide, a 21% increase on 2015. Joe Graedon, M.s., And Teresa Graedon, Houston Chronicle, "Natural approaches may ease white fingers of Raynaud’s," 17 June 2018 In New York State alone, 2,616 people overdosed on painkillers in 2016, the most recent year for which data is available. Tyler Blint-welsh, New York Times, "Pill Bottles Beside the Dead Shared a Doctor’s Name," 7 June 2018 Teenage boys start taking prescription painkillers after a sports injury, then begin using the drugs recreationally after their injury has healed. Catherine Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, "Marin health officials test new way to track opioid overdoses," 22 Apr. 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

11 Sep 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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