co·​deine | \ ˈkō-ˌdēn How to pronounce codeine (audio) \

Definition of codeine

: 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

Examples of codeine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Canadians and Swedes were also far more likely to get codeine or tramadol — painkillers that rely on a different mechanism in the body and are considered weaker types of opioids. Julie Appleby,, "Study finds international differences in filling opioid prescriptions," 11 Sep. 2019 The program is accepting prescribed opioid medication such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, codeine, fentanyl, morphine and hydromorphone. Chevall Pryce, Houston Chronicle, "HCA Houston locations to ‘Crush the Crisis’ with opioid take-back day," 12 Sep. 2019 The commissioner's office said during the last five years only 12 of 78,000 tests were positive for substances classified as opioids and opiates, a group that includes oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and fentanyl. CBS News, "MLB and player's union to discuss opioid testing after Tyler Skaggs death," 7 Sep. 2019 The opioid codeine, which used to be available over the counter, was restricted to prescription-only in 2018. Kristen Gelineau,, "Opioid crisis goes global as Australia fails to heed the lessons of the United States," 5 Sep. 2019 Rounds of live ammunition were found in the back seat behind the driver, along with five sealed medicine bottles and one open medicine bottle containing a substance believed to be codeine, Moccia said. Jordan Frias,, "Dorchester man arrested after allegedly brandishing gun at Brighton IHOP," 25 Aug. 2019 An officer found a bottle of promethazine and codeine during a vehicle search, police said. Jennifer James, Houston Chronicle, "Police: 2 Friendswood men suspected in vehicle burglaries," 21 Aug. 2019 By comparison, 39 overdose deaths were attributed to heroin last year and 53 to prescription opioids such as oxycodone and codeine. Taylor Kate Brown,, "Bay Briefing: Fentanyl epidemic worsens in San Francisco," 24 June 2019 The topic is timely: A couple of months earlier, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, Australia’s FDA equivalent, ordered pharmacies to remove over-the-counter codeine products from their shelves. Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, Discover Magazine, "These Researchers Think We Can Retrain Our Brains to Tame Chronic Pain," 30 May 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'codeine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of codeine

1850, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for codeine

French codéine, from Greek kōdeia poppyhead

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Statistics for codeine

Last Updated

4 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for codeine

The first known use of codeine was in 1850

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English Language Learners Definition of codeine

: a drug used to reduce pain


co·​deine | \ ˈkō-ˌdēn, ˈkōd-ē-ən How to pronounce codeine (audio) \

Medical Definition of codeine

: 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, February l983

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More from Merriam-Webster on codeine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with codeine

Spanish Central: Translation of codeine

Nglish: Translation of codeine for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about codeine

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