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


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

Overdoing it on painkillers can actually make the pain worse—and the caffeine in some medications like Excedrin can cause withdrawal headaches, compounding the effects. Amy Marturana, SELF, "What Your Headaches Can Tell You About Your Health," 29 Dec. 2018 People who receive an opioid painkiller prescription in a hospital emergency department are also limited to a seven-day supply, under Pennsylvania guidelines. Sarah Gantz,, "Prescription opioid distribution drops in Pa., N.J.," 19 June 2018 One provision in the bill has given Sullivan some pause — a provision that limits initial painkiller prescriptions to three days. Erica Martinson, Anchorage Daily News, "Sullivan’s bill would bring funds to fight opioid addiction among vets, rural Alaskans," 2 Mar. 2018 In 2012, 259 million painkiller prescriptions were written. Kaitlin Menza, Good Housekeeping, "Mommy's Little Helper:," 13 Aug. 2016 Sufentanil is an opioid painkiller five to seven times more potent than fentanyl—another powerful opioid—at the time of peak effect and 4,521 times more powerful than morphine, but Alison wasn’t intimidated. Kayla Webley Adler, Marie Claire, "I Was One Of The Top Doctors In My Field. I Was Also An Opioid Addict.," 25 Feb. 2019 As an example, one study found that CBD can, in rats, be an effective anti-inflammatory painkiller — at 20 mg per kg. Dan Nosowitz, Vox, "The super-popular cannabis compound, explained.," 1 Nov. 2018 That’s led preparers to stock up on chocolate and painkillers—both for unhappy clients and for themselves. Laura Saunders, WSJ, "How Accountants Break the Bad News About Tax Refunds: With Chocolate and Tissues," 4 Mar. 2019 Many people got started on the path to addiction with painkillers, prescribed by a doctor for treatment of injuries, post-surgical pain or a chronic condition — or purchased illegally from a dealer. Carla K. Johnson, The Seattle Times, "Q&A: Feds tackle opioid epidemic, but is it helping?," 28 Jan. 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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Statistics for painkiller

Last Updated

22 May 2019

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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 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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Comments on painkiller

What made you want to look up painkiller? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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