Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Having a soothing, calming, or tranquilizing effect; reducing or relieving anxiety, stress, irritability, or excitement.
  • n. An agent or a drug having a soothing, calming, or tranquilizing effect.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An agent or drug that sedates, having a calming or soothing effect, or inducing sleep.
  • adj. Calming, soothing, inducing sleep, tranquilizing

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Tending to calm, moderate, or tranquilize.
  • n. A remedy which allays irritability and irritation, and irritative activity or pain.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Tending to calm, tranquilize, or soothe; specifically, in medicine, having the power of allaying or assuaging irritation, irritability, or pain.
  • n. Whatever soothes, allays, or assuages; specifically, a medicine or a medical appliance which has the property of allaying irritation, irritability, or pain.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. tending to soothe or tranquilize
  • n. a drug that reduces excitability and calms a person

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old French sedatif, from Medieval Latin sēdātīvus, from Latin sēdātus, past participle of sēdāre, to calm; see sedate1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Alcohol is a short-term sedative but may induce shallow sleep and less overall sleep time.

    The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working

  • There was never any sense that he was a recreational drug user at all, but -- but there was questions about was there an overuse of certain painkillers and even, you know, the latest report about the Diprivan or the Propofol, which was that short-term sedative that was very, very dangerous that could have been used to help him go to sleep at night.

    CNN Transcript Jul 9, 2009

  • The problem with most of these medications — especially so-called sedative-hypnotics, obtained by prescription and also known as benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines — is that while they might seem to give the sufferer some relief, they either disrupt or prohibit REM sleep, the restorative kind that provides great, complicated dreams and a sense of renewed vigor and optimism in the morning.

    The Waking Dead

  • He thought he had became addicted to Propofol, this very powerful sedative, which is really only supposed to be used in a hospital setting, Campbell.

    CNN Transcript Aug 24, 2009

  • The second drug that they use paralyzes the inmate, which doesn't allow the person administering the drugs to know whether the sedative, which is the first drug, is actually working.

    CNN Transcript Feb 22, 2006

  • Tobacco may more properly be called a sedative than a narcotic.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 06, No. 34, August, 1860

  • Like other states, Virginia recently replaced sodium thiopental with pentobarbital after a nationwide shortage of the sedative, which is administered before two other drugs that stop the inmate's breathing and heart.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • Hence also those constitutions which are deficient in quantity of irritability, and which possess too great sensibility, as during the pain of hunger, of hysteric spasms, or nervous headachs, are generally supposed to have too much irritability; and opium, which in its due dose is a most powerful stimulant, is erroneously called a sedative; because by increasing the irritative motions it decreases the pains arising from defect of them.

    Zoonomia, Vol. I Or, the Laws of Organic Life

  • Prescription sleeping pills are normally classified as sedative hypnotics.

    CreationWiki - Recent changes [en]

  • GHB is classified as a sedative-hypnotic and/or a central nervous system depressant.

    WN.com - Articles related to Freedom to set prices key for UK drugs industry

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  • T.H.E.: 'Like Acton, Clapham believed in finding empty spaces in the past and dutifully filling them, so he was probably a connoisseur of tedium, and he is said to have died of boredom on a late train back from London as he shared the compartment with the wife of a college master famous for the sedative properties of her conversation. "Not a mark on his body," the medical report is rumoured to have said, "but with a terrible staring look in his eyes." The story is a tribute to the lady, for Clapham must have been a hard man to bore.'

    April 16, 2009