co·​deine ˈkō-ˌdēn How to pronounce codeine (audio)
: a morphine derivative C18H21NO3·H2O that is found in opium, is weaker in action than morphine, and is used especially as an analgesic and antitussive

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Heroin, morphine, opium, fentanyl, oxycodone (sold under brand names, including OxyContin), hydrocodone (brands include Vicodin), codeine and methadone are all examples of opioids. Robert Hart, Forbes, 3 May 2023 Yet as many as 10 percent of patients have genetic variants that produce too little of the enzyme, so almost no codeine gets turned into morphine. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, 17 May 2016 The Pentagon issued a warning to its active duty military personnel in February, warning them some varieties of poppy seeds could have higher codeine contamination. Kaitlyn Kanzler, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2023 For them, a little codeine can quickly turn into too much morphine, which can lead to a fatal overdose. Dina Fine Maron, Scientific American, 17 May 2016 Substances like codeine, taken to alleviate pain or coughing, Xanax, used to treat anxiety, Ambien, a sleep aid, and buprenorphine, a narcotic used to treat opioid addiction, can be prescribed over telehealth for an initial 30-day dose. Amanda Seitz And Lindsay Whitehurst, al, 25 Feb. 2023 Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Gilbert Cisneros Jr. reminded personnel in a memo posted Tuesday that natural poppy seeds can be contaminated with morphine and codeine, which can be detected in drug tests if the seeds are ingested. Megan Cerullo, CBS News, 22 Feb. 2023 For more than a decade, Future has been a troubadour of toxicity and the artist most responsible for how rappers sound when delivering odes to the conspicuous consumption of codeine, couture and companions. Chris Kelly, Washington Post, 23 Jan. 2023 Common medication names are morphine and codeine. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'codeine.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French codéine, from Greek kōdeia poppyhead

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of codeine was in 1833

Dictionary Entries Near codeine

Cite this Entry

“Codeine.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


co·​deine ˈkō-ˌdēn How to pronounce codeine (audio)
: a drug that is obtained from opium, is weaker than morphine, and is used as a pain reliever and in cough remedies

Medical Definition


: a morphine derivative that is found in opium, is weaker in action than morphine, and is used chiefly in the form of its sulfate (C18H21NO3)2·H2SO4 or phosphate C18H21NO3·H3PO4 especially as a pain reliever and cough suppressant
Although codeine is potentially addicting, it rarely causes physical dependence when taken orally for a short time.Consumer Reports

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