opiate

noun
opi·​ate | \ ˈō-pē-ət How to pronounce opiate (audio) , -ˌāt \
plural opiates

Definition of opiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : an alkaloid drug (such as morphine or codeine) that contains or is derived from opium, binds to cell receptors primarily of the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, acts to block pain, induce sedation or sleep, depress respiration, and produce calmness or euphoria, and is associated with physiological tolerance (see tolerance sense 4a(1)), physical and psychological dependence, and addiction upon repeated or prolonged use
b : a synthetic or semisynthetic drug (such as fentanyl or methadone) or an endogenous substance (such as beta-endorphin) that binds to opiate cell receptors and produces physiological effects like those of opium derivatives: opioid sense 1 … fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is 90-100 times more potent than morphine.The Economist Current peptide research has uncovered at least two groups of endogenous opiates in the CNS that modulate the perception of pain.— Nicholas T. Zervas

Note: The use of opiate for substances that bind to opiate receptors but are not opium derivatives is often considered technically incorrect. Such substances are more commonly referred to as opioids. The word opioid itself was originally used only for these substances, but it has now become widely accepted as a broader term encompassing any substance—natural, synthetic, opium-derived or not—that binds to opiate receptors and has morphine-like activity.

2 : something likened to a drug that induces rest or inaction or quiets uneasiness Operatic music is an opiate that lowers our critical guard and allows us to entertain views that our good liberal selves would disavow were they presented in naked prose.— Paul Robinson … the novel's real drug is the opiate of nostalgia. Richard, narrating the events at a distance of ten years, is still too in love with the friends to look at them with an even faintly critical eye.— Ruth Franklin

opiate

adjective

Definition of opiate (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : containing or mixed with opium
b : of, relating to, binding, or being an opiate opiate receptors
2a : inducing sleep : narcotic
b : causing dullness or inaction

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Synonyms & Antonyms for opiate

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of opiate in a Sentence

Noun Many see television as an opiate of the masses. a cultural critic who argues that the Internet has now joined television as an opiate of the American people Adjective morphine is an opiate drug
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her mom has, among other conditions, chronic bronchitis, asthma, depression and opiate dependence, which all heighten the risk of viral exposure. Shefali Luthra, USA TODAY, "For family caregivers, COVID is a mental health crisis in the making," 17 Oct. 2020 Former opiate users often have resistance to some of the drugs. Lisa M. Krieger, Star Tribune, "Doctors seek life-ending drugs that smooth the way for the terminally ill," 1 Oct. 2020 Unable to lose himself in his work, the narrator turns to the true opiate of the masses. Rumaan Alam, The New Republic, "Hari Kunzru’s Reckoning With the Far Right," 9 Sep. 2020 And eyeballs and data are the opiate of advertisers big and small. John D. Stoll, WSJ, "Sheryl Sandberg and Facebook’s Billion-Dollar Balancing Act," 21 Aug. 2020 The Akron Community Foundation is accepting grant proposals for the HSC/Summit County Community Health Fund, which was formed to address the local opiate and addiction crisis. Megan Becka, cleveland, "Akron Community Foundation seeks grant proposals for opiate, addiction crisis initiatives," 13 July 2020 The fund will award grants to local nonprofits and research and medical institutions that offer solutions to the Summit County opiate crisis that can be used as a blueprint for the region and state. Megan Becka, cleveland, "Akron Community Foundation seeks grant proposals for opiate, addiction crisis initiatives," 13 July 2020 Spending nearly a month on the couch chowing down on antivirals, opiates, vitamins, and every season of RuPaul’s Drag Race gave me a lot of time to think about it. Marissa A. Ross, Bon Appétit, "Everything Is Different So I'm Drinking a Wine That Doesn't Change," 12 May 2020 The twentieth century shifted our sense of mass death to the political: war, genocide, and other numerical measures of evil, lately focussed on terrorism, opiates, and guns. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Mortality and the Old Masters," 6 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Officers also found two unmarked plastic containers full of pills, which were later identified as opiate derivatives. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah man caught with 20 Burmese pythons in his home," 12 Oct. 2020 The 3-year-old child’s father arrived to take him, but was found to have an active warrant from Brook Park and also exhibited signs of opiate abuse. cleveland, "Woman overdoses with 3-year-old by her side: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 29 Aug. 2020 Paramedics were treating the unconscious woman, who was revived after two doses of Narcan, used for opiate overdoses. cleveland, "Woman overdoses with 3-year-old by her side: Fairview Park Police Blotter," 29 Aug. 2020 That Nearly Killed Me, has been in recovery for an opiate addiction for 17 years. Ginny Graves, Health.com, "COVID-19’s Effects Reach Beyond the Virus. Here Are Other Ways It’s Impacting Our Health," 20 Aug. 2020 Lee Ann Watson, associate director of the Clermont County Mental Health and Recovery Board and the opiate task force co-chair, said a quick response team that visited the homes of overdose survivors stopped its work during the stay-at-home period. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, "Meth, fentanyl-tainted cocaine surge in Clermont County, following SW Ohio trends," 18 Aug. 2020 The pellet, a naltrexone implant, was inserted near a patient's abdomen and released medication to help curb cravings and blocked the brain's opiate receptors. CBS News, "Surgeon charged in scheme to pay addicts to receive experimental implant," 11 July 2020 Formed in 2014, the 11-member group normally handles cases involving opiate addiction, health problems among the homeless and mentally ill, and chronic users of 911 for real or perceived health crises. Bruce Selcraig, ExpressNews.com, "San Antonio, still at high risk for COVID-19 deaths, has seen a lower rate than many U.S. urban centers," 22 June 2020 The city then was an electric blend of the sacred and profane: a cocktail of religious piety, garish energy, and opiate nostalgia; repellant and addictive at the same time. Francis X. Maier, National Review, "Pope Francis’s Respectful Critics Deserve Better Than Scorn," 20 Mar. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'opiate.' 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 opiate

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for opiate

Noun

Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin opiātum, from Latin opium opium + -ātum -ate entry 1

Adjective

borrowed from Medieval Latin opiātus "soporific," from Latin opium opium + -ātus -ate entry 3

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Time Traveler for opiate

Time Traveler

The first known use of opiate was in the 15th century

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Statistics for opiate

Cite this Entry

“Opiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opiate. Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for opiate

opiate

noun
How to pronounce opiate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of opiate

: a drug (such as morphine or codeine) that is made from opium and that is used to reduce pain or cause sleep
disapproving : something that causes people to ignore problems and to relax instead of doing things that need to be done

opiate

noun
opi·​ate | \ ˈō-pē-ət How to pronounce opiate (audio) , -ˌāt How to pronounce opiate (audio) \

Medical Definition of opiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an alkaloid drug (as morphine or codeine) that contains or is derived from opium, binds to cell receptors primarily of the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract, acts to block pain, induce sedation or sleep, depress respiration, and produce calmness or euphoria, and is associated with physiological tolerance (see tolerance sense 1), physical and psychological dependence, and addiction upon repeated or prolonged use
2 : a synthetic or semisynthetic drug (as fentanyl or methadone) or an endogenous substance (as beta-endorphin) that binds to opiate cell receptors and produces physiological effects like those of opium derivatives: opioid … fentanyl, a synthetic opiate that is 90-100 times more potent than morphine.The Economist Current peptide research has uncovered at least two groups of endogenous opiates in the CNS that modulate the perception of pain.— Nicholas T. Zervas

Note: The use of opiate for substances that bind to opiate receptors but are not opium derivatives is often considered technically incorrect. Such substances are more commonly referred to as opioids. The word opioid itself was originally used only for these substances, but it has now become widely accepted as a broader term encompassing any substance—natural, synthetic, opium-derived or not—that binds to opiate receptors and has morphine-like activity.

opiate

adjective

Medical Definition of opiate (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or being opium or an opium derivative
2 : of, relating to, binding, or being an opiate opiate receptors

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