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or anaesthetic

[an-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌæn əsˈθɛt ɪk/
a substance that produces anesthesia, as halothane, procaine, or ether.
pertaining to or causing physical insensibility:
an anesthetic gas.
physically insensitive:
Halothane is used to produce an anesthetic state.
Origin of anesthetic
1840-50, Americanism; < Greek anaísthēt(os) without feeling, senseless + -ic; see an-1, aesthetic
Related forms
anesthetically, adverb
nonanesthetic, adjective, noun
postanesthetic, adjective
semianesthetic, adjective


[an-uh s-thee-zhuh] /ˌæn əsˈθi ʒə/
noun, Medicine/Medical, Pathology.
Related forms
[an-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌæn əsˈθɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
[uh-nes-thi-tist or, esp. British, uh-nees-] /əˈnɛs θɪ tɪst or, esp. British, əˈnis-/ (Show IPA),
semianaesthetic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for anaesthetic
Historical Examples
  • It is a good thing that we did not have to use an anaesthetic.

    Spacehounds of IPC Edward Elmer Smith
  • I must have talked in an odd way, as people do who are recovering from an anaesthetic.

    The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
  • The arm was badly broken, too badly to be set without an anaesthetic.

    Red Pepper Burns Grace S. Richmond
  • The doctor showed Arlie how to administer the anaesthetic after he had washed the wound.

    A Texas Ranger William MacLeod Raine
  • The return to reality was as painful as the return to consciousness after taking an anaesthetic.

    Ethan Frome Edith Wharton
  • For the action and use of chloroform as an anaesthetic, see Anaesthesia.

  • "I found the anaesthetic by its smell soon after I went to Xantra," she explained.

  • Self-deception is the anaesthetic of life, while God is carving out our beings.

    The Wheels of Chance H. G. Wells
  • You ought to be undressed, scrubbed, and ready for the anaesthetic yourself.

    The Penalty

    Gouverneur Morris
  • I consider this anaesthetic the safest the world has yet seen.

British Dictionary definitions for anaesthetic


a substance that causes anaesthesia
causing or characterized by anaesthesia


noun, adjective
the usual US spelling of anaesthetic


local or general loss of bodily sensation, esp of touch, as the result of nerve damage or other abnormality
loss of sensation, esp of pain, induced by drugs: called general anaesthesia when consciousness is lost and local anaesthesia when only a specific area of the body is involved
a general dullness or lack of feeling
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin, from Greek anaisthēsia absence of sensation, from an- + aisthēsis feeling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for anaesthetic

1846, "insensible," from Greek anaisthetos "insensate, without feeling; senseless, stupid" (see anaesthesia). Noun meaning "agent that produces anesthesia" first used in modern sense 1848 by Scottish doctor James Young Simpson (1811-1870), discoverer of the surgical uses of chloroform.



1721, "loss of feeling," Modern Latin, from Greek anaisthesia "want of feeling, lack of sensation (to pleasure or pain)," from an- "without" (see an- (1)) + aisthesis "feeling," from PIE root *au- "to perceive" (see audience). As "a procedure for the prevention of pain in surgical operations," from 1846.



alternative spelling of anaesthetic (q.v.). See ae.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anaesthetic in Medicine

anesthetic an·es·thet·ic (ān'ĭs-thět'ĭk)
An agent that reversibly depresses neuronal function, producing total or partial loss of sensation. adj.

  1. Characterized by the loss of sensation.

  2. Capable of producing a loss of sensation.

  3. Associated with or due to the state of anesthesia.

an'es·thet'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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anaesthetic in Science
A drug that temporarily depresses neuronal function, producing total or partial loss of sensation with or without the loss of consciousness.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anaesthetic in Culture
anesthetic [(an-is-thet-ik)]

A substance that causes loss of sensation or consciousness. With the aid of an anesthetic, people can undergo surgery without pain. (See general anesthetic and local anesthetic.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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