mor·​phine | \ˈmȯr-ˌfēn \

Definition of morphine 

: a bitter crystalline addictive narcotic base C17H19NO3 that is the principal alkaloid of opium and is used in the form of a soluble salt (such as a hydrochloride or a sulfate) as an analgesic and sedative

Examples of morphine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last year that fentanyl can be 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, and it is often mixed with heroin or cocaine. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Couple behind “prolific” dark net fentanyl sales busted by DOJ," 22 Aug. 2018 Vander Linde, a nurse, tried three other compartments that would normally contain morphine or another painkiller, hydromorphone. Katie Thomas,, "Drug shortages said to be worsening," 2 July 2018 In the emergency department at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Dr. Ali Raja recently had an appendicitis patient who needed intravenous morphine or low-dose Dilaudid. Linda A. Johnson,, "The other opioid crisis: Hospitals grapple with prolonged injected opioid shortage," 28 June 2018 In the first study to directly compare two of the most common treatment methods — methadone and morphine — researchers hope to establish a uniform strategy for treating neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Alice Park, Time, "Many Doctors Give Morphine to Babies Born With Opioid Addiction. A New Study Suggests There's a Better Way," 18 June 2018 Opioid narcotics, such as fentanyl or morphine, have known side effects such as decreased respiration, nausea, or itching, but true allergies to opioids are also almost unheard of. Ronald S. Litman,, "Should I worry about my child being allergic to anesthesia?," 9 July 2018 Fentanyl is about 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "'Bodies can't take it': Fentanyl involved in nearly half of drug overdose deaths," 2 July 2018 Patients were often prescribed fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine and other highly addictive drugs without being seen by a doctor, officials said. Kevin Grasha,, "Feds: Hamilton clinic gave pain drugs, 'Prescriptive Speedball' without seeing patients," 28 June 2018 Afghanistan is the world’s largest producer of opium, which is refined into morphine and heroin. Michael M. Phillips, WSJ, "U.S. Attacks Taliban’s Source of Funds in Afghanistan," 30 May 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of morphine

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for morphine

French, from Morpheus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about morphine

Statistics for morphine

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for morphine

The first known use of morphine was in 1817

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for morphine



English Language Learners Definition of morphine

: a powerful drug made from opium that is used to reduce pain


mor·​phine | \ˈmȯr-ˌfēn \

Kids Definition of morphine

: a habit-forming drug made from opium and used to relieve pain


mor·​phine | \ˈmȯr-ˌfēn \

Medical Definition of morphine 

: a bitter crystalline addictive narcotic base C17H19NO3 that is the principal alkaloid of opium and is used in the form of its hydrated sulfate (C17H19NO3)2·H2SO4·5H2O or hydrated hydrochloride C17H19NO3·HCl·3H2O as an analgesic and sedative

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on morphine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with morphine

Spanish Central: Translation of morphine

Nglish: Translation of morphine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of morphine for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about morphine

Comments on morphine

What made you want to look up morphine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!