tran·​quil·​iz·​er | \ ˈtraŋ-kwə-ˌlī-zər How to pronounce tranquilizer (audio) , ˈtran- \
variants: or less commonly tranquillizer

Definition of tranquilizer

1 : a drug used to reduce mental disturbance (such as anxiety and tension) — compare antipsychotic
2 : one that tranquilizes

Examples of tranquilizer in a Sentence

a patient who is on tranquilizers
Recent Examples on the Web The horse tranquilizer Xylazine also is increasingly showing up in overdose deaths. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "Seaweed surplus, vaccine dose reductions, DC gets help: News from around our 50 states," 21 Dec. 2020 The bans, long overdue, had the effect of a tranquilizer; suddenly, timelines felt a little less deranged. Jason Parham, Wired, "An Internet Without Trump," 22 Jan. 2021 Xylazine, a horse tranquilizer, is increasingly showing up in overdose deaths as well. Eliza Fawcett,, "Connecticut projected to exceed last year’s number of fatal overdoses, as COVID-19 results in isolation and fentanyl drives deaths; over 1,300 fatalities expected in 2020," 18 Dec. 2020 Biologists used tranquilizer darts to capture sheep, take tissue samples for lab testing, and attach tracking collars to the animals. Jayson Jacoby, oregonlive, "Mystery remains over 2 deaths of bighorn sheep in Baker County herds even as bacterial strain identified," 1 Dec. 2020 Each day, the children line up for a dose of tranquilizer pills. Stephen Humphries, The Christian Science Monitor, "Your move: ‘Queen’s Gambit’ offers viewers more than good chess," 24 Nov. 2020 In the second room, Ahav’s eyes were drooping as the tranquilizer took effect. Hannah Dreier, Washington Post, "What to do about Ahav?," 24 Oct. 2020 This and sloppy medical procedures have obscured the fact that Jimi took an overdose of a powerful tranquilizer called Vesparax and passed away quietly in his sleep. David Kirby, WSJ, "‘Wild Thing’ Review: Out of This World," 2 Oct. 2020 What many called his greatest triumph arose in an inquiry into the tranquilizer thalidomide, which caused severe deformities in thousands of babies and led to lawsuits against a drugmaker. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Harold Evans Dies at 92; Crusading Newspaperman With a Second Act," 24 Sep. 2020

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

1800, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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The first known use of tranquilizer was in 1800

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Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tranquilizer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for tranquilizer



English Language Learners Definition of tranquilizer

: a drug that causes a person or animal to become very relaxed and calm


tran·​quil·​iz·​er | \ ˈtraŋ-kwə-ˌlī-zər How to pronounce tranquilizer (audio) \

Kids Definition of tranquilizer

: a drug used to make someone calm and relaxed


variants: or chiefly British tranquillizer or tranquilliser \ -​ˌlī-​zər How to pronounce tranquilizer (audio) \

Medical Definition of tranquilizer

: a drug used to reduce mental disturbance (as anxiety and tension) — see antipsychotic

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