The next time you go to the dentist, make sure you know the word anesthetic. This drug causes a temporary loss of feeling, making it your best friend if the drill has to be used.

The word anesthetic traces back to the Greek word anaisthēsia, from a combination of an-, meaning “without” and aisthēsis, meaning “sensation.” If you take an anesthetic that’s what happens: you are temporarily without sensation, meaning you feel no pain. A general anesthetic causes temporary unconsciousness and is often used during surgeries. A local anesthetic numbs just one area, such your mouth or a finger.

Definitions of anesthetic

n a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations

anaesthetic, anaesthetic agent, anesthetic agent
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general anaesthetic, general anesthetic
an anesthetic that anesthetizes the entire body and causes loss of consciousness
intravenous anesthetic
an anesthetic that produces anesthesia when injected into the circulatory system
local, local anaesthetic, local anesthetic, topical anaesthetic, topical anesthetic
anesthetic that numbs a particular area of the body
spinal anaesthetic, spinal anesthetic
an anesthetic that is injected into the spine
a mixture of methyl and ethyl chloride; sprayed on as a local anesthetic
a substance that relieves or prevents itching
benzocaine, ethyl aminobenzoate
a white crystalline ester used as a local anesthetic
butacaine, butacaine sulfate
a white crystalline ester that is applied to mucous membranes as a local anesthetic
a local anesthetic that is administered by injection
ethyl chloride
a colorless flammable gas used as a local surface anesthetic
inhalation anaesthetic, inhalation anesthetic, inhalation general anaesthetic, inhalation general anesthetic
a gas that produces general anesthesia when inhaled
Ketalar, ketamine, ketamine hydrochloride
a general anesthetic and tranquilizer (not a barbiturate) that is administered intravenously or intramuscularly; used mainly by veterinarians or for minor surgery with geriatric or pediatric patients; taken in large doses it causes hallucinations similar to those associated with the use of PCP
Lidocaine, Xylocaine
a local anesthetic (trade names Lidocaine and Xylocaine) used topically on the skin and mucous membranes
Metycaine, piperocaine, piperocaine hydrochloride
a compound used in the form of its hydrochloride as a local or spinal anesthetic
Ethocaine, procaine
a white crystalline powder (trade name Ethocaine) administered near nerves as a local anesthetic in dentistry and medicine
a crystalline compound used in the form of a hydrochloride as a local anesthetic
tribromoethanol, tribromoethyl alcohol
an intravenous anesthetic
truth drug, truth serum
an intravenous anesthetic drug that has a hypnotic effect; induces relaxation and weakens inhibitions; is believed to induce people to talk freely
Type of:
a substance that is used as a medicine or narcotic

adj relating to or producing insensibility


adj characterized by insensibility

“the young girls are in a state of possession--blind and deaf and anesthetic
“an anesthetic state”
incapable of physical sensation

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