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[an-uh s-thee-zhuh]
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noun Medicine/Medical, Pathology.
  1. anesthesia.
Related formsan·aes·thet·ic [an-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌæn əsˈθɛt ɪk/, adjective, nounan·aes·the·tist [uh-nes-thi-tist or, esp. British, uh-nees-] /əˈnɛs θɪ tɪst or, esp. British, əˈnis-/, nounsem·i·an·aes·thet·ic, adjective


or an·aes·thet·ic

[an-uh s-thet-ik]
  1. a substance that produces anesthesia, as halothane, procaine, or ether.
  1. pertaining to or causing physical insensibility: an anesthetic gas.
  2. 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 formsan·es·thet·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·an·es·thet·ic, adjective, nounpost·an·es·thet·ic, adjectivesem·i·an·es·thet·ic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for anaesthetics

Historical Examples

  • With anaesthetics this state of things at any rate was changed.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 16, Slice 7


  • The operation has been rendered painless by the use of anaesthetics.

  • We did not know its value as an anodyne, for we had no need of anaesthetics of any kind.

    I Walked in Arden

    Jack Crawford

  • The man was too far gone, indeed, to justify the use of anaesthetics, yet without them Dick feared to proceed.

  • It was before the days of anaesthetics, which relieve all of these inconveniences, and above all, relax the muscles.

British Dictionary definitions for anaesthetics


  1. (functioning as singular) the science, study, and practice of anaesthesia and its applicationUS name: anesthesiology


noun, adjective
  1. the usual US spelling of anaesthetic


US anesthesia

  1. local or general loss of bodily sensation, esp of touch, as the result of nerve damage or other abnormality
  2. 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
  3. 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

Word Origin and History for anaesthetics



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

anaesthetics in Medicine


  1. An agent that reversibly depresses neuronal function, producing total or partial loss of sensation.
  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.
Related formsan′es•theti•cal•ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

anaesthetics in Science


  1. 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 © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

anaesthetics in Culture



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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.