phen·​ac·​e·​tin fi-ˈna-sə-tən How to pronounce phenacetin (audio)
: a white crystalline compound C10H13NO2 formerly used to ease pain or fever but withdrawn because of its serious side effects

called also acetophenetidin

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The most common active ingredient in cold pills at this time was phenacetin, banned in 1983 as a carcinogen and for damaging kidneys. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phenacetin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


International Scientific Vocabulary

First Known Use

circa 1887, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phenacetin was circa 1887

Dictionary Entries Near phenacetin

Cite this Entry

“Phenacetin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Mar. 2023.

Medical Definition


phen·​ac·​e·​tin fi-ˈnas-ət-ən How to pronounce phenacetin (audio)
: a compound C10H13NO2 formerly used to ease pain or fever but now withdrawn from use because of its link to high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, and kidney disease

called also acetophenetidin

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