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Alternative forms[edit]


an- +‎ aesthesia, from Ancient Greek ἀναισθησία (anaisthēsía), from ἀν- (an-, not) with αἴσθησις (aísthēsis, sensation).

Coined in 1846 CE by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., in a letter to dentist William T. G. Morton, the first practitioner to publicly demonstrate the use of ether during surgery, writing:

Everybody wants to have a hand in a great discovery. All I will do is to give a hint or two as to names—or the name—to be applied to the state produced and the agent. The state should, I think, be called ‘Anaesthesia.’ This signifies insensibility—more particularly ... to objects of touch.[1]



anaesthesia (countable and uncountable, plural anaesthesias)

  1. (British, medicine) A method of preventing sensation, used to eliminate pain.
  2. Loss or prevention of pain, as caused by anesthesia.

Related terms[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Small, Miriam Rossiter (1962). Oliver Wendell Homes. Twayne’s United States authors series, 29. New York: Twayne Publishers. OCLC 273508,page 55