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90s Slang You Should Know


[oh-pee-uh m] /ˈoʊ pi əm/
the dried, condensed juice of a poppy, Papaver somniferum, that has a narcotic, soporific, analgesic, and astringent effect and contains morphine, codeine, papaverine, and other alkaloids used in medicine in their isolated or derived forms: a narcotic substance, poisonous in large doses.
anything that causes dullness or inaction or that soothes the mind or emotions.
Origin of opium
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek ópion poppy juice, equivalent to op(ós) sap, juice + -ion diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for opium
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But it is inebriant, and not soporific; and its secondary sedative action on the heart is more powerful than that of opium.

    The Action of Medicines in the System Frederick William Headland
  • It is a climbing-plant, the root of which has some of the properties of opium.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • French officials shake their heads when opium is mentioned; and the agents of the farmer blush for their employment.

    In the South Seas Robert Louis Stevenson
  • In 1800 an edict of the emperor prohibited the importation of opium into his dominions.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • This preparation has a deep brownish-red colour, and the characteristic odour and taste of opium.

British Dictionary definitions for opium


the dried juice extracted from the unripe seed capsules of the opium poppy that contains alkaloids such as morphine and codeine: used in medicine as an analgesic
something having a tranquillizing or stupefying effect
Word Origin
C14: from Latin: poppy juice, from Greek opion, diminutive of opos juice of a plant
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 opium

late 14c., from Latin opium, from Greek opion "poppy juice, poppy," diminutive of opos "vegetable juice."

Die Religion ist der Seufzer der bedrängten Kreatur, das Gemüth einer herzlosen Welt, wie sie der Geist geistloser Zustände ist. Sie ist das Opium des Volks. [Karl Marx, "Zur Kritik der Hegel'schen Rechts-Philosophie," in "Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher," February, 1844]
The British Opium War against China lasted from 1839-42; the name is attested from 1841.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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opium in Medicine

opium o·pi·um (ō'pē-əm)
A bitter, yellowish-brown, strongly addictive narcotic drug prepared from the dried juice of unripe pods of the opium poppy and containing alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, and papaverine. Also called meconium.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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opium in Science
A highly addictive, yellowish-brown drug obtained from the pods of a variety of poppy, from which other drugs, such as morphine, are prepared.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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opium in Culture

opium definition

A highly addictive drug obtained from the poppy plant. Several other drugs, such as morphine and codeine, are derived from opium.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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