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[yoo-thuh-ney-zhuh, -zhee-uh, -zee-uh] /ˌyu θəˈneɪ ʒə, -ʒi ə, -zi ə/
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 forms
[yoo-thuh-ney-zee-ast] /ˌyu θəˈneɪ ziˌæst/ (Show IPA),
[yoo-thuh-ney-zik] /ˌyu θəˈneɪ zɪk/ (Show IPA),
proeuthanasia, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for euthanasia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Illstarred heresiarch' In a Greek watercloset he breathed his last: euthanasia.

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

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

    Egoists James Huneker
  • People did not deplore the dead warrior, but admired his euthanasia.

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • It was here that one enthusiast achieved a fisherman's euthanasia, for he dropped dead suddenly in the very act of playing a fish.

    Connaught Stephen Lucius Gwynn
British Dictionary definitions for euthanasia


the act of killing someone painlessly, esp to relieve suffering from an incurable illness Also called mercy killing
Word Origin
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
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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
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euthanasia in Medicine

euthanasia eu·tha·na·sia (yōō'thə-nā'zhə, -zhē-ə)

  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.
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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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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euthanasia in Culture
euthanasia [(yooh-thuh-nay-zhuh)]

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

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