depressant

[dih-pres-uhnt]
adjective
1.
Medicine/Medical. having the quality of depressing or lowering the vital activities; sedative.
2.
causing a lowering in spirits; dejecting.
3.
causing a drop in value; economically depressing.
noun
4.
Medicine/Medical. a sedative. Compare stimulant ( def 1 ).
5.
Chemistry. any agent capable of diminishing a specific property of a substance.

Origin:
1875–80; depress + -ant

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
depressant (dɪˈprɛsənt)
 
adj
1.  med able to diminish or reduce nervous or functional activity
2.  causing gloom or dejection; depressing
 
n
3.  a depressant drug

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

depressant
"sedative," 1876 as a noun, 1887 as an adjective, from depress.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

depressant de·pres·sant (dĭ-prěs'ənt)
adj.
Tending to lower the rate of vital physiological activities. n.
An agent, especially a drug, that decreases the rate of vital physiological activities.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

depressant

in medicine, a drug or other agent that slows the activity of vital organs of the body. Depressants acting on the central nervous system include general anesthetics, opiates, alcohol, and hypnotics. Tranquilizing drugs (ataractics) act primarily on the lower levels of the brain, relieving tension without reducing mental sharpness.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Zoloft, although an anti-depressant, helps balance your brain chemistry.
We drink to celebrate, but because alcohol works as a depressant, it ends up deadening feelings.
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