A sedative is a drug that calms you down. If a patient is freaking out about getting an MRI or minor surgery, the doctor might prescribe a sedative to chill them out.

A sedative is anything that makes you sedate — peaceful, calm, tranquil. In medicine this word refers to drugs that relieve anxiety or tranquilizers that pretty much knock you out. But other non-pharmaceutical things can have sedative effects, like a soothing cup of tea or a relaxing glass of wine. The tryptophan in turkey is actually a natural sedative — that's why everyone is sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner!

Definitions of sedative
  1. adjective
    tending to soothe or tranquilize
    “took a hot drink with sedative properties before going to bed”
    synonyms: ataractic, ataraxic, tranquilising, tranquilizing, tranquillising, tranquillizing
    capable of depressing physiological or psychological activity or response by a chemical agent
  2. noun
    a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person
    synonyms: depressant, downer, sedative drug
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    chloral hydrate
    a colorless crystalline drug used as a sedative; irritates the stomach and can be addictive
    Doriden, glutethimide
    sedative (trade name Doriden) used to treat some sleep disorders
    sedative-hypnotic, sedative-hypnotic drug
    a sedative that depresses activity of the central nervous system and reduces anxiety and induces sleep
    organic compound having powerful soporific effect; overdose can be fatal
    Placidyl, ethchlorvynol
    a mild sedative-hypnotic drug (trade name Placidyl)
    knockout drops
    chloral hydrate in combination with alcohol; usually administered surreptitiously to make the drinker unconscious
    Quaalude, methaqualone
    sedative-hypnotic drug (trade name Quaalude) that is a drug of abuse
    a sedative and hypnotic drug; withdrawn from sale after discovered to cause severe birth defects because it inhibits angiogenesis
    antianxiety agent, ataractic, ataractic agent, ataractic drug, tranquilizer, tranquilliser, tranquillizer
    a drug used to reduce stress or tension without reducing mental clarity
    type of:
    drug of abuse, street drug
    a drug that is taken for nonmedicinal reasons (usually for mind-altering effects); drug abuse can lead to physical and mental damage and (with some substances) dependence and addiction
    medicament, medication, medicinal drug, medicine
    (medicine) something that treats or prevents or alleviates the symptoms of disease
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