[ bahr-bich-er-it, -uh-reyt; bahr-bi-too r-it, -eyt, -tyoo r- ]
/ bɑrˈbɪtʃ ər ɪt, -əˌreɪt; ˌbɑr bɪˈtʊər ɪt, -eɪt, -ˈtyʊər- /

noun Pharmacology.

any of a group of barbituric acid derivatives, used in medicine as sedatives and hypnotics.

Origin of barbiturate

First recorded in 1925–30; barbitur(ic) + -ate2
Related formsnon·bar·bit·u·rate, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for barbiturate


/ (bɑːˈbɪtjʊrɪt, -ˌreɪt) /


a derivative of barbituric acid, such as phenobarbital, used in medicine as a sedative, hypnotic, or anticonvulsant
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 barbiturate



1928 (morphine barbiturate is from 1918), from German, coined 1863 by chemist Adolf von Baeyer (1835-1917) from Barbitursäure "barbituric acid," itself coined by Baeyer, perhaps from woman's name Barbara, or perhaps from Latin barbata, in Medieval Latin usnea barbata, literally "bearded moss." Second element is because it was obtained from uric acid. With chemical ending -ate (3).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for barbiturate


[ bär-bĭchər-ĭt, -ə-rāt′, bär′bĭ-turĭt, -āt′ ]


A salt or ester of barbituric acid.
Any of a group of barbituric acid derivatives that act as central nervous system depressants and are used as sedatives or hypnotics.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for barbiturate


[ bär-bĭchər-ĭt ]

Any of a group of drugs that act as depressants of the central nervous system, are highly addictive, and are used primarily as sedatives and anticonvulsants. Phenobarbital and pentobarbital are examples of barbiturates.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.