One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A barbiturate drug used as a sedative and a hypnotic.
Alternative name: 5-ethyl-5-isopropylbarbituric acid, or its sodium salt (sodium amytal); chemical formula: C₁₁H₁₈N₂O₃
- ‘Well, I'm going to ask people to take a look at that magazine, because it discusses a drug called sodium amytal, which is a hallucinogenic barbiturate.’
- ‘I asked, as insouciantly as you like, my subtle interrogation forming step by step, point by point, spiralling around my quarry like the hazy grip of sodium amytal.’
- ‘Intravenous sodium amytal (Amytal, Luminal, Nembutal) elicited no benefit, but intravenous zolpidem did.’
- ‘They used a variety of methods, including hypnosis, injections of sodium amytal, guided imagery, dream work, participation in survivor groups, even massage therapy to recover ‘body memories’ of abuse.’
- ‘But that's another subject entirely - the point is that Slothrop's map gets him interrogated under sodium amytal, a technique first documented in 1943 as narcoanalysis, and sometimes referred to as ‘truth serum’.’
1920s: from amyl + -t- (for ease of pronunciation) + -al.
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