pen·​to·​bar·​bi·​tal | \ ˌpen-tə-ˈbär-bə-ˌtȯl How to pronounce pentobarbital (audio) \

Definition of pentobarbital

: a granular barbiturate C11H18N2O3 used especially in the form of its sodium or calcium salt as a sedative, hypnotic, and antispasmodic

Examples of pentobarbital in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Texas, Georgia and the U.S. government have recently used pentobarbital in executions. Scott Sonner, ajc, 29 June 2021 Initially, Johnson requested to be executed not by the drug pentobarbital but rather by nitrogen gas. Ariane De Vogue, CNN, 24 May 2021 At 1 am, the unseen executioner released the pentobarbital into the long silicone lines. Caroline Lester, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 The next day, Corey Johnson, also fifty-two, waited until 10 pm for an answer from the Supreme Court regarding the suffering pentobarbital would cause him—a ruling that would also apply to Higgs. Caroline Lester, Harper's Magazine, 27 Apr. 2021 In exchange for a suitcase of more than $10,000 cash, the Idaho officials obtained the pentobarbital used in the July 12, 2012, execution of Richard A. Leavitt, condemned for the stabbing and mutilation of Danette Jean Elg in Blackfoot, Idaho. The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Apr. 2021 The lawyers presented evidence that the drug, a sedative called pentobarbital, would flood the prisoners’ lungs with froth and foam, causing pain and terror akin to death by drowning. Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, 11 Jan. 2021 Johnson was strapped to a gurney and injected with lethal doses of pentobarbital, according to Reuters. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, 15 Jan. 2021 As the pentobarbital flowed, Bourgeois’ stomach heaved and popped, according to George Hale, a public radio reporter who witnessed the execution. Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica, 23 Dec. 2020

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

1931, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pentobarbital

penta- + -o- + barbital

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The first known use of pentobarbital was in 1931

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Cite this Entry

“Pentobarbital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for pentobarbital


pen·​to·​bar·​bi·​tal | \ ˌpent-ə-ˈbär-bə-ˌtȯl How to pronounce pentobarbital (audio) \

Medical Definition of pentobarbital

: a granular barbiturate used especially in the form of its sodium salt C11H17N2NaO3 or calcium salt (C11H17N2O3)2Ca as a sedative, hypnotic, and antispasmodic

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