or an·aes·the·sia

[an-uh s-thee-zhuh]


Medicine/Medical. general or local insensibility, as to pain and other sensation, induced by certain interventions or drugs to permit the performance of surgery or other painful procedures.
Pathology. general loss of the senses of feeling, as pain, heat, cold, touch, and other less common varieties of sensation.
Psychiatry. absence of sensation due to psychological processes, as in conversion disorders.

Origin of anesthesia

1715–25; < New Latin < Greek anaisthēsía want of feeling. See an-1, esthesia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for anesthesia

numbness, stupor, unconsciousness, asleep

Examples from the Web for anesthesia

Contemporary Examples of anesthesia

Historical Examples of anesthesia

  • I urge the reader not to stick pins in himself to test the anesthesia.

  • These methods of anesthesia are very important and have merit.

    The Mother and Her Child

    William S. Sadler

  • Anesthesia from it sets in more rapidly and lasts longer than with cocaine.

    Merck's 1899 Manual

    Merck &amp; Co.

  • They've been mighty good to us—but do you remember the anesthesia?


    Charlotte Perkins Stetson Gilman

  • One element that is extremely important for anesthesia is deep breathing.


    James J. Walsh

British Dictionary definitions for anesthesia



the usual US spelling of anaesthesia
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 anesthesia

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anesthesia in Medicine




Total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensibility, induced by disease, injury, acupuncture, or an anesthetic.
Local or general insensibility to pain with or without the loss of consciousness, induced by an anesthetic.
A drug that induces partial or total loss of sensation and may be topical, local, regional, or general, depending on the method of administration and area of the body affected.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

anesthesia in Science



Total or partial loss of sensation to touch or pain, caused by nerve injury or disease, or induced intentionally, especially by the administration of anesthetic drugs, to provide medical treatment. The first public use of ether to anesthetize a patient in Boston in 1846 initiated widespread acceptance of anesthetics in the Western world for surgical procedures and obstetrics. General anesthesia, administered as inhalation or intravenous agents, acts primarily on the brain, resulting in a temporary loss of consciousness. Regional or local anesthesia affects sensation in a specific anatomic area, and includes topical application of local anesthetics, blocking of peripheral nerves, spinal anesthesia, and epidural anesthesia, which is used commonly during childbirth.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

anesthesia in Culture



Loss of sensation or consciousness. Anesthesia can be induced by an anesthetic, by acupuncture, or as the result of injury or disease.

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.