Definition of anxiolytic in English:



  • (chiefly of a drug) used to reduce anxiety.

    • ‘Whilst this may be as a result of his anxiety it equally seems likely that this is a side effect of his anxiolytic drugs.’
    • ‘Although hypoxemia and anxiety may cause agitation and restlessness, anxiolytic medications should be administered only when the physician is prepared to intubate.’
    • ‘Grief mostly requires reassurance from friends and counseling by family physician with occasional small dose of anxiolytic medication.’
    • ‘Patients were not allowed to take antidepressant or anxiolytic drugs during the study.’
    • ‘Sedatives are more properly called anxiolytic drugs.’


  • A drug used to relieve anxiety.

    • ‘She had received counseling, antidepressants, anxiolytics, and sleep medication from her former physician, but in her opinion these had merely dulled her cognition and memory.’
    • ‘Smokers with a high level of anxiety symptoms could possibly benefit from anxiolytics as a smoking cessation intervention.’
    • ‘Only two classes of drugs (hypnotics and anxiolytics, and antidepressants) were independently associated with an increased odds of falling.’
    • ‘Antiepileptics, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics are drugs that may be used as sedatives.’
    • ‘Sedatives and anxiolytics should not be used alone to manage pain because they can mask the behavioral response to pain without providing analgesia.’


1960s: from anxiety + -lytic.