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90s Slang You Should Know


[lawd-n-uh m, lawd-nuh m] /ˈlɔd n əm, ˈlɔd nəm/
a tincture of opium.
Obsolete. any preparation in which opium is the chief ingredient.
Origin of laudanum
1595-1605; orig. Medieval Latin variant of ladanum; arbitrarily used by Paracelsus to name a remedy based on opium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for laudanum
Historical Examples
  • She went straight to the place where the laudanum was hidden, and took it out.

    No Name Wilkie Collins
  • And lastly, two or three drops of laudanum according to the age of the child.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II Erasmus Darwin
  • Give a still smaller dose about six hours after, to which two drops of laudanum or solution of muriate of morphi has been added.

    Cats W. Gordon Stables
  • In this interval he was induced to swallow forty drops of laudanum.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II Erasmus Darwin
  • Now, then, I was again happy; I now took only 1000 drops of laudanum per day; and what was that?

  • Don't let her get any laudanum, or anything; and presently report to me.

  • She placed the laudanum in the cupboard, locked it, and put the key in her packet.

    No Name Wilkie Collins
  • You gave him a part of a glass of water with some laudanum in it.

    Old Gold George Manville Fenn
  • I then pulled the line—the bung came out, and the laudanum, of course, ran down his throat.

    Marmaduke Merry William H. G. Kingston
  • He took seventy drops of laudanum, and diluents were ordered.

British Dictionary definitions for laudanum


a tincture of opium
(formerly) any medicine of which opium was the main ingredient
Word Origin
C16: New Latin, name chosen by Paracelsus for a preparation probably containing opium, perhaps based on labdanum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for laudanum

c.1600, from Modern Latin laudanum (1540s), coined by Paracelsus for a medicine he mixed, supposed to contain gold and crushed pearls and many expensive ingredients, but probably owing its effectiveness to only one of them, opium. Perhaps from Latin laudare "to praise," or from Latin ladanum "a gum resin," from Greek ladanon, a word perhaps of Semitic origin. The word soon came to be used for "any alcoholic tincture of opium." Latin ladanum was used in Middle English of plant resins, but this is not regarded as the source of the 16c. word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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laudanum in Medicine

laudanum lau·da·num (lôd'n-əm)
A tincture of opium, formerly used as a drug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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