[ nahr-kot-ik ]
See synonyms for narcotic on
  1. any of a class of substances that blunt the senses, as opium, morphine, belladonna, marijuana, and alcohol, that in large quantities produce euphoria, stupor, or coma, that when used constantly can cause habituation or addiction, and that are used in medicine to relieve pain, cause sedation, and induce sleep.

  2. any controlled substance, whether sedative or stimulant: Airports need security solutions that can effectively detect concealed explosives and narcotics.

  1. anything that exercises a soothing or numbing effect or influence: Television is a narcotic for many people.

  1. of or having the power to produce narcosis, as a drug.

  2. pertaining to or of the nature of narcosis.

  1. of or relating to narcotics or their use.

  2. used by, or in the treatment of, narcotic addicts.

Origin of narcotic

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English noun narcotic, narkotik, Medieval Latin narcōticum, from Greek narkōtikón, noun use of neuter of narkōtikós “benumbing,” equivalent to narkō- (stem of narkoûn “to benumb” + -tikos adjective suffix; see narco-, -tic

Other words from narcotic

  • nar·cot·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·nar·cot·ic, adjective, noun
  • an·ti·nar·cot·ics, adjective
  • non·nar·cot·ic, adjective, noun
  • pre·nar·cot·ic, adjective
  • pseu·do·nar·cot·ic, adjective, noun
  • sem·i·nar·cot·ic, adjective
  • sub·nar·cot·ic, adjective
  • un·nar·cot·ic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for narcotic


/ (nɑːˈkɒtɪk) /

  1. any of a group of drugs, such as heroin, morphine, and pethidine, that produce numbness and stupor. They are used medicinally to relieve pain but are sometimes also taken for their pleasant effects; prolonged use may cause addiction

  2. anything that relieves pain or induces sleep, mental numbness, etc

  1. any illegal drug

  1. of, relating to, or designating narcotics

  2. of or relating to narcotics addicts or users

  1. of or relating to narcosis

Origin of narcotic

C14: via Medieval Latin from Greek narkōtikós, from narkoūn to render numb, from narkē numbness

Derived forms of narcotic

  • narcotically, adverb

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

Scientific definitions for narcotic


[ när-kŏtĭk ]

  1. Any of a group of highly addictive analgesic drugs derived from opium or opiumlike compounds. Narcotics can cause drowsiness and significant alterations of mood and behavior.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.