Definition of sedative in English:



  • Promoting calm or inducing sleep.

    ‘the seeds have a sedative effect’
    • ‘Tolerance towards the sedative effects seems to develop before tolerance to the stimulatory effects.’
    • ‘In most cases patients did not respond to the usual doses of antipsychotics and sedative agents.’
    • ‘In pharmacological interventions, analgesic and sedative agents were more often used concomitantly than individually.’
    • ‘Studies show sedative herbs gently depress the central nervous system, thus calming you and inducing sleep.’
    • ‘Antidepressant and sedative drugs gave troublesome side effects and only temporary relief.’
    • ‘Antihistamines are sometimes used but mainly for sedative effect.’
    • ‘Limited evidence from one animal study suggests that hops may potentiate the effects of sedative drugs.’
    • ‘"Eating a large meal will have a sedative effect, " says Young.’
    • ‘These heavy mineral substances tend to create more grounding sedative effects that help calm the mind and emotions.’
    • ‘Other mild sedative herbs are linden (lime flower) and lemon verbena.’
    • ‘Mechanical ventilation and use of paralytic and sedative agents impair communication between patients and others.’
    • ‘Research has shown that the flower of the mimosa tree has a sedative effect.’
    • ‘He should omit sedative drugs and reduce his alcohol intake.’
    • ‘Thus, sedative effects potentially could accumulate with repeated administration.’
    • ‘Their findings supported the use of hypnosis as a substitute for sedative drug use.’
    • ‘The second-generation antihistamines were developed principally to avoid sedative actions.’
    • ‘Butterbur should be considered for treating seasonal allergic rhinitis when the sedative effects of antihistamines need to be avoided.’
    tranquillizing, calming, depressant, soothing, calmative, relaxing, soporific
    View synonyms


  • A drug taken for its calming or sleep-inducing effect.

    • ‘For dogs who travel in the family car, valerian is one of the most powerful herbal sedatives and tranquillisers.’
    • ‘This strategy may prevent accumulation of sedatives by allowing the drugs to be eliminated between doses.’
    • ‘Another psychiatrist also gave her sedatives and sleeping pills.’
    • ‘She had become dependent on a variety of drugs - sedatives, amphetamines and various narcotics, including heroin.’
    • ‘You should be grateful that I'm not smoking pot or injecting sedatives!’
    • ‘Is it the sedative administered by Sheeran or is it something else?’
    • ‘Because of this action, alcohol produces similar effects as the sedatives but through an independent mechanism.’
    • ‘Biopsies can be uncomfortable and you may be given a mild sedative or local anaesthetic.’
    • ‘Doctors prescribed sedatives, painkillers and rest, and advised sufferers to pull themselves together.’
    • ‘Effie put down the medical bag, took out a hypodermic and filled it with a powerful sedative.’
    • ‘You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax.’
    • ‘A total of 11.6 % of patients received sedatives before and/or during procedures.’
    • ‘To help you relax, you may receive a sedative intravenously.’
    • ‘When used alone, sedatives were administered a little more often than were analgesics.’
    • ‘Doctors sometimes prescribe sedatives like Valium to alleviate the symptoms.’
    • ‘Before the tears came, Doctor Lee mercifully injected Robert with a powerful sedative.’
    • ‘Staff had trouble controlling the man and a doctor prescribed an oral sedative.’
    • ‘They pinned her to the floor, swabbed her arm and injected the sedative in her.’
    • ‘A final medical alternative includes short-term use of prescription sedatives to combat withdrawal symptoms.’
    • ‘The child should not receive sedatives or opiates as these may depress the respiratory drive.’
    tranquillizer, calmative, depressant, sleeping pill, soporific, narcotic, opiate
    trank, sleeper, downer
    View synonyms


Late Middle English: from Old French sedatif or medieval Latin sedativus, from Latin sedat- settled from the verb sedare (see sedate).