[yoo-thuh-ney-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh]


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.
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. 2019

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



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




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.
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



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.