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 The federal government resumed executions in July after a 17-year hiatus, with the drug pentobarbital. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "Governor: More work to do before death row inmates are executed," 5 Sep. 2020 Attorney General William Barr announced last year that the federal government would resume executions using the single drug pentobarbital. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Re-opening federal death chamber: Victim opposition, pandemic threaten first execution in 17 years," 9 July 2020 The first drug, sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, put the inmate to sleep; the second brought on paralysis; and the third stopped the heart. Steve Almasy, CNN, "Another Tennessee murderer chooses electric chair over lethal injection," 5 Dec. 2019 Barr ordered the Bureau of Prisons to adopt a new policy for lethal injections, one that officials said closely mirrors the protocols used in Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, replacing a three-drug lethal combination with one drug, pentobarbital. Mark Berman,, "Justice Department plans to restart capital punishment after long hiatus," 25 July 2019 The addendum to the execution protocol Barr is implementing replaces the three-drug procedure that has been used in federal executions with one drug, pentobarbital, according to the Justice Department. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, "Justice Department will execute inmates for first time since 2003," 25 July 2019 In their legal quest to avoid a painful death, the prisoners offer up a dark variety of alternatives, including firing squad, sevoflurane gas, diazepam and fentanyl, an oral dose of secobarbital and pentobarbital. Keri Blakinger, Houston Chronicle, "Arkansas death row inmates want to know where Texas gets its death drugs," 26 June 2018 As the lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital began, Ochoa closed his eyes and had no visible reaction. CBS News, "Texas executes man for fatally shooting 5 family members, including his wife and children," 6 Feb. 2020 Travis Runnels, 46, did not give a final statement before he was given a lethal dose of the powerful sedative pentobarbital. Fox News, "Texas inmate who murdered prison shoe factory supervisor is executed," 12 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for pentobarbital

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The first known use of pentobarbital was in 1931

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Statistics for pentobarbital

Last Updated

9 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pentobarbital.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2020.

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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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