When you receive drugs via a needle you are getting an injection but when a sample of blood is being removed, via a needle, it cannot be an injection as nothing is injected.

I am wondering if there is a word for the inverse of an injection in that something is removed rather than added.

So rather than "the nurse gave me an injection" we normally say "the nurse took a blood sample" but I am looking for alternatives.

  • Well, I use specimen.
    – vickyace
    Mar 4, 2017 at 10:46
  • @vickyace In the UK medical speak at least a "specimen" is most commonly used incorrectly for a urine sample. Mar 4, 2017 at 11:37
  • @SteveBarnes What is incorrect about UK usage? chambers.co.uk/search/?query=specimen&title=21st
    – Spagirl
    Mar 4, 2017 at 12:29
  • @Spagirl - A urine sample is just one example of a medical specimen but many laypersons use the phrase "bring a specimen" exclusively to mean a specimen of urine. Mar 4, 2017 at 12:35
  • 1
    After reading the answers given below, which sound worse than the procedure, I'd stick with your original. Mar 4, 2017 at 14:14

6 Answers 6


'Extraction' might be a good fit for a direct opposite of injection, though it's most commonly used to refer to tooth removal. From https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extraction:

1:  the act or process of extracting something


3:  something extracted

On the other hand, perhaps 'draw' is the word you seek. I would use it before I'd use extraction; though a cursory dig yielded no formal support for the use of 'draw' as a noun in this specific way.

The nurse gave an injection.

The nurse took a draw.

  • 1
    I have seen the phrases "drew some blood", "drawing some blood", "had some blood drawn" & "went to draw some blood" so not a bad fit. Mar 6, 2017 at 20:33
  • 1
    Marking as correct based on drew/draw/drawing as it the best non-technical to date. Mar 8, 2017 at 20:38

Phlebotomy is the act of drawing or removing blood from the circulatory system through a cut (incision) or puncture in order to obtain a sample for analysis and diagnosis.

So, phlebotomize - To perform phlebotomy upon (OED).

1596 T. Nashe Haue with you to Saffron-Walden sig. Bv, Phlebothomize them, sting them, tutch them. (OED)

2002 Amer. Jrnl. Gastroenterol. 97 1095/1 This reviewer phlebotomizes all nonacutely ill HCV [= hepatitis C virus] patients with serum ferritins of >200 ng/ml by removing a unit of blood every other week.

  • 1
    Oh. I almost forgot. Apt.
    – vickyace
    Mar 4, 2017 at 11:10
  • 2
    The OP gave an example sentence they were looking for an alternative to. How would phlebotomy fit into an alternative sentence?
    – Spagirl
    Mar 4, 2017 at 12:33
  • 1
    @fixer1234 - verb and examples found in OED!
    – Dan
    Mar 4, 2017 at 12:51
  • A lot of unfamiliar medical terminology has been suggested, so I'll try to shed some light on it. If a single word is absolutely required, phlebotomize is the correct medical term (actually past tense, phlebotomized, in that sentence). Venipuncture refers to the process employed, but there isn't a way to use it in a sentence like presented in the question. The question implies a non-medical person making the statement, and few non-medical people know the word phlebotomize or would use it in casual conversation if they did. (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Mar 4, 2017 at 18:30
  • "Draw some blood" would probably be the most common way to refer to it in speech to and by non-medical people ("some" is normally a part of that phrase, especially when referring to a future event). "Drew blood" would be the common past tense way to refer to it. Transfusion applies only to moving blood from one person to another, or moving previously collected blood into someone. It doesn't apply to a sample, as in the question. Just the extraction part of that process is called blood collection (and that's normally used for removing (cont'd)
    – fixer1234
    Mar 4, 2017 at 18:31

I would suggest venipuncture:

In medicine, venipuncture or venepuncture is the process of obtaining intravenous access for the purpose of intravenous therapy or for blood sampling of venous blood.


Well, it's two words, but I like "drew blood."


[blood] collection

seems to be quite close to what you're looking for.

Transfusion is evidently also a possible term, describing both stages of the procedure.

Hemotransfusion would be a somewhat nerdier synonym.


One more thing that might be of interest to you, though not an answer to your question, really:

In technical documents regarding catheters, you'll come across the terms positive displacement and negative displacement, meaning that fluid moves into the catheter or that fluid is drawn from the catheter, respectively.

Note to commentator(s): I approached this question from a somewhat technical point of view, so I believe that medical staff are the ones to ask with regard to the frequency at which these terms are used.

  • 1
    Nobody says 'blood collection', do they?
    – TonyK
    Mar 4, 2017 at 16:50


when giving local anaesthetic, we pull the syringe plunger slightly at one point to check if blood is aspirated, in case the needle is in a blood vessel.

  • Aspirate means to draw in using suction. It could apply to the process, but it wouldn't be an alternate word for taking a blood sample.
    – fixer1234
    Mar 4, 2017 at 22:13

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