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

In the season’s last section, BoJack checks into rehab to work to contain his latest addiction (to painkillers). Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "BoJack Horseman season 5 is a bold, bracing look at a culture that shirks responsibility," 15 Sep. 2018 According to an analysis by JAMA Psychiatry, 75 percent of heroin users started with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Hayley Krischer, Marie Claire, "How Heroin Came for Middle-Class Moms," 20 Aug. 2018 Vander Linde, a nurse, tried three other compartments that would normally contain morphine or another painkiller, hydromorphone. Katie Thomas,, "Drug shortages said to be worsening," 2 July 2018 Opioids can be helpful painkillers when prescribed for those in need, but drug traffickers have begun to manufacture them illegally at more alarming rates. Renae Reints, Fortune, "Production of Opium-Based Drugs and Cocaine Is at an All-Time High," 27 June 2018 The superstar also was found to have painkillers, Xanax, Ambien and an ingredient active in marijuana in his body when he was busted in Florida in May of 2017 for driving under the influence. Peter Botte,, "Tiger Woods would like to celebrate 10-year anniversary with another victory at the U.S. Open," 9 June 2018 For instance: Not all of alcohol's effects will overlap with those of marijuana, or painkillers, or sleep deprivation. Robbie Gonzalez, WIRED, "Too High, Drunk, or Sleepy to Drive? One Day Your Phone Could Know," 30 Apr. 2018 Even as prescriptions for opioids have declined, federal data show the number of deaths from drug overdoses - which include not just prescription painkillers, but also illicit opioids such as heroin -- have continued to rise. The Washington Post,, "Opioid prescriptions fell 10 percent in 2017, biggest drop in 25 years," 19 Apr. 2018 Eyre hammered away at a problem (in this case, drug wholesalers dumping millions of painkillers on small towns in West Virginia) until the nation took notice. Rob Byers, Time, "Only You Have the Power to Save Your Local News from Corporate Vultures," 14 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

13 Feb 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 \

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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very full or close together

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