noun[mass noun] Medicine
A synthetic compound used as a painkilling drug, especially for women in labour.
- He looked pretty sick, so I started treatment with intravenous fluids and antibiotics, followed by pethidine, which made him doze off for a while.
- Pain was treated with oral paracetamol, intravenous pethidine, or tramadol.
- The court heard he had been injecting himself in the arms and legs for six months with pethidine, a pain-relieving drug normally given to women in labour.
1940s: from p(iper)idine (from which the drug is derived), with the insertion of eth(yl).
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