Definition of pentobarbital in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˌpentəˈbärbiˌtäl/ /-ˌtôl/


A narcotic and sedative barbiturate drug formerly used to relieve insomnia.
  • Alternative name: 5-ethyl-5-(1-methylbutyl)-barbituric acid; often used as the sodium salt (sodium pentobarbitone, Nembutal).
Example sentences
  • In this experiment, human volunteers consistently underestimated their performance impairment after acute administrations of triazolam, but not pentobarbital, a barbiturate.
  • One drug in particular, sodium pentobarbital - a barbiturate used to euthanize animals - is of prime concern.
  • To induce a coma, an anesthesiologist typically infuses a patient with increasing doses of the barbiturate pentobarbital while monitoring her brain waves with electrodes.


1930s: from pentane + barbital (or barbitone).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pen·to·bar·bi·tal

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.