or an·aes·thet·ic

[an-uh s-thet-ik]


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 formsan·es·thet·i·cal·ly, adverbnon·an·es·thet·ic, adjective, nounpost·an·es·thet·ic, adjectivesem·i·an·es·thet·ic, adjective


[an-uh s-thee-zhuh]

noun Medicine/Medical, Pathology.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for anaesthetic

analgesic, anodyne, dope, gas, hypnotic, narcotic, opiate, shot, soporific, inhalant, spinal

Examples from the Web for anaesthetic

Historical Examples of anaesthetic

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for anaesthetic


US anesthetic


a substance that causes anaesthesia


causing or characterized by anaesthesia


noun, adjective

the usual US spelling of anaesthetic


US anesthesia


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 for anaesthesia

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 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

anaesthetic in Medicine




An agent that reversibly depresses neuronal function, producing total or partial loss of sensation.


Characterized by the loss of sensation.
Capable of producing a loss of sensation.
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.

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

anaesthetic 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.