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
  1. noun
    a drug that causes temporary loss of bodily sensations
    synonyms: anaesthetic, anaesthetic agent, anesthesia, 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
  2. adjective
    relating to or producing insensibility
    synonyms: anaesthetic
  3. adjective
    characterized by insensibility
    “an anesthetic state”
    synonyms: anaesthetic
    incapable of physical sensation
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