[yoo-thuh-ney-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh]
See more synonyms for euthanasia on
  1. Also called mercy killing. the act of putting to death painlessly or allowing to die, as by withholding extreme medical measures, a person or animal suffering from an incurable, especially a painful, disease or condition.
  2. painless death.

Origin of euthanasia

1640–50; < New Latin < Greek euthanasía an easy death, equivalent to eu- eu- + thánat(os) death + -ia -y3
Related formseu·tha·na·si·ast [yoo-thuh-ney-zee-ast] /ˌyu θəˈneɪ ziˌæst/, nouneu·tha·na·sic [yoo-thuh-ney-zik] /ˌyu θəˈneɪ zɪk/, adjectivepro·eu·tha·na·sia, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for euthanasia

Contemporary Examples of euthanasia

Historical Examples of euthanasia

  • Not in euthanasia, but in torment of mind should the guilty atone.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • His going out was an euthanasia, for he was in love and heard nothing.

    Beasts, Men and Gods

    Ferdinand Ossendowski

  • When I am too old to work and ready for euthanasia I shall have you come and talk me to death.

  • Kennon shuddered, thinking of the euthanasia chambers on Otpen One.

    The Lani People

    J. F. Bone

  • In August, 1900, came the euthanasia for which he had longed.


    James Huneker

British Dictionary definitions for euthanasia


  1. the act of killing someone painlessly, esp to relieve suffering from an incurable illnessAlso called: mercy killing

Word Origin for euthanasia

C17: via New Latin from Greek: easy death, from eu- + thanatos death
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 euthanasia

c.1600, from Greek euthanasia "an easy or happy death," from eu- "good" (see eu-) + thanatos "death" (see thanatology). Sense of "legally sanctioned mercy killing" is first recorded in English 1869.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

euthanasia in Medicine


  1. The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition, as by lethal injection or the suspension of extraordinary medical treatment.
  2. A quiet, painless death.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

euthanasia in Science


  1. The act or practice of painlessly ending the life of an animal or a willing individual who has a terminal illness or incurable condition, as by giving a lethal drug.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

euthanasia in Culture



Painlessly putting someone to death — usually someone with an incurable and painful disease; mercy killing.


Proposals to make euthanasia legal in the United States have inspired heated debate.
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.