[ pop-ee ]
/ ˈpɒp i /
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noun, plural pop·pies for 1, 2, 4-7.
any plant of the genus Papaver, having showy, usually red flowers.Compare poppy family.
any of several related or similar plants, as the California poppy or the prickly poppy.
an extract, as opium, from such a plant.
Also called poppy red. an orangish red resembling scarlet.
Architecture. poppyhead.
an artificial flower resembling a poppy, especially one received as evidence of a contribution to a fund for disabled war veterans.
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Idioms about poppy

    tall poppy, Australian. someone of preeminence or with a large income; important and powerful person.

Origin of poppy

before 900; Middle English; Old English popæg, papig ≪ Vulgar Latin *papāvum, for Latin papāver


pop·py·like, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does poppy mean?

The name poppy can refer to any plant in the poppy family, especially in the genus Papaver, which typically have red, orange, or white showy, solitary flowers.

Varieties include the California poppy, the Oriental poppy, the corn poppy, the Iceland poppy, and the prickly poppy. Poppies are popular in gardens and bouquets.

Poppies release a milky sap that we call latex. Poppy seeds are used in baking and cooking. The variety of poppy known as the opium poppy is used to produce opium, which contains several narcotic substances used in drugs and painkilling medicines (including morphine and codeine).

After World War I, red poppies became a symbol used to remember fallen soldiers. Today, these are often artificial. The poppy is one of the August birth flowers (a flower that’s associated with a particular month in the same way as a birthstone).

Example: My grandfather always pins a poppy to his shirt on Memorial Day.

Completely unrelatedly, the word poppy is also an adjective form of the noun pop, as in pop music, which is simply a shortening of popular. This sense of poppy is used to describe things considered representative of pop.

Example: The band seems like they’re going for more of a poppy sound on their new album. 

Where does poppy come from?

The first records of the word poppy come from before the year 900. It comes from the Old English popæg, ultimately from the Latin papāver.

The association between poppies and sleep predates the “poppies will make them sleep” scene in The Wizard of Oz. Opium, whose name comes from a Latin word meaning “poppy juice,” contains several narcotic elements, including morphine, that can cause sleepiness. The narco- root in both narcotic and the name of the sleep disorder narcolepsy comes from the Greek narkē, meaning “numbness.” The word morphine is based on the name of Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep and dreams.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to poppy?

  • poppylike (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with poppy

What are some words that often get used in discussing poppy?

How is poppy used in real life?

Poppies are popular and well-known flowers. They are known for being a symbol of remembrance for fallen soldiers. They are also associated with opium. And their seeds are popular in baked goods like breads and muffins.

Try using poppy!

True or False? 

Latex is derived from poppies.

How to use poppy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for poppy (1 of 2)

/ (ˈpɒpɪ) /

noun plural -pies
any of numerous papaveraceous plants of the temperate genus Papaver, having red, orange, or white flowers and a milky sapSee corn poppy, Iceland poppy, opium poppy
any of several similar or related plants, such as the California poppy, prickly poppy, horned poppy, and Welsh poppy
obsolete any of the drugs, such as opium, that are obtained from these plants
  1. a strong red to reddish-orange colour
  2. (as adjective)a poppy dress
a less common name for poppyhead (def. 2)
an artificial red poppy flower worn to mark Remembrance Sunday

Word Origin for poppy

Old English popæg, ultimately from Latin papāver

British Dictionary definitions for poppy (2 of 2)

/ (ˈpɒpɪ) /

adjective -pier or -piest
of or relating to pop music
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