- A painkilling drug or medicine.
- Not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.
“He feared fueling tensions any further, so he kept his remarks as anodyne as possible.”
“When I’m sick, I want the strongest anodyne available to help me sleep.”
“Keep the decor anodyne if you want to avoid displeasing any renters.”
Greek, mid-16th century
Why this word?
The Greek origins of “anodyne” mean “free from pain,” and the noun can be any pain-relieving drug or medicine. But as an adjective, the usage shifts to describe things intended to avoid causing pain or offense in the first place. While pharmaceuticals hog most of the spotlight for producing anodyne effects, Tylenol and Advil aren’t the only things that can bring physical relief. Anything that can soothe a situation or bring joy can be considered anodyne, such as watching the sunset, doing meditation, or even watching cute cat videos.
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