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[an-uh s-thee-zhuh] /ˌæn əsˈθi ʒə/
noun, Medicine/Medical, Pathology
Related forms
[an-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌæn əsˈθɛt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
adjective, noun
[uh-nes-thi-tist or, esp. British, uh-nees-] /əˈnɛs θɪ tɪst or, esp. British, əˈnis-/ (Show IPA),
semianaesthetic, adjective


[an-uh s-thet-ik] /ˌæn əsˈθɛt ɪk/
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.
Also, anaesthetic.
1840-50, Americanism; < Greek anaísthēt(os) without feeling, senseless + -ic; see an-1, esthetic
Related forms
anesthetically, adverb
nonanesthetic, adjective, noun
postanesthetic, adjective
semianesthetic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for anaesthetic
  • The anaesthetic drugs specified are going out of fashion and there fore becoming in short supply.
  • Hopefully, my dental surgeon will change his mind about the local anaesthetic.
  • We went to the wards put people on stretchers, wheeled them to the anaesthetic room.
  • As the plan is to administer the anaesthetic while the patient sleeps, it is no wonder that failure attends the effort.
  • The walk could become a phantom biopsy, cutting out a sample of diseased tissue without an anaesthetic.
  • The medics carried out experiments on humans, including vivisection without anaesthetic.
  • It is injected by a nurse with an intimidating syringe under a local anaesthetic.
  • One of his earliest memories was being taken to the dentist, who performed a tonsillectomy on him without anaesthetic.
  • Life-saving surgery without anaesthetic is what is needed.
  • The others were told that they'd been given lidocaine, an anaesthetic.
British Dictionary definitions for anaesthetic


a substance that causes anaesthesia
causing or characterized by anaesthesia


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
C19: from New Latin, from Greek anaisthēsia absence of sensation, from an- + aisthēsis feeling


noun, adjective
the usual US spelling of anaesthetic
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
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Word Origin and History for anaesthetic
1721, "loss of feeling," Mod.L., from Gk. anaisthesia "lack of sensation," from an- "without" + aisthesis "feeling," from PIE base *au- "to perceive" (see audience).
1846, "insensible," from Gk. anaisthetos "without feeling" (see anaesthesia). Noun meaning "agent that produces anesthesia" first used in modern sense 1848 by professor James Young Simpson (1811-1870), discoverer of chloroform.
alt. spelling of anaesthetic (q.v.). See ae.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anaesthetic in Medicine

anesthetic an·es·thet·ic (ān'ĭs-thět'ĭk)
An agent that reversibly depresses neuronal function, producing total or partial loss of sensation. adj.

  1. Characterized by the loss of sensation.

  2. Capable of producing a loss of sensation.

  3. Associated with or due to the state of anesthesia.

an'es·thet'i·cal·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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anaesthetic in Culture
anesthetic [(an-is-thet-ik)]

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 American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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