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

Definition of opiate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a drug (such as morphine or codeine) containing or derived from opium and tending to induce sleep and alleviate pain broadly : narcotic sense 1a
2 : something that induces rest or inaction or quiets uneasiness regarded television as an opiate



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

anesthetic, anodyne, narcotic

Synonyms: Adjective

drowsy, hypnotic, narcotic, sleepy, slumberous (or slumbrous), somniferous, somnolent, soporific

Antonyms: Adjective


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Examples of opiate in a Sentence


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


morphine is an opiate drug
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And my boyfriend had collapsed back into his opiate addiction. Corey Seymour, Vogue, "Bret Easton Ellis on Talking Porn With Kanye, a New Novel, and (Yes) Trump," 16 Apr. 2019 The synthetic opiate has been, increasingly, dropped into stimulant drugs as well as heroin and other opioids. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, "Fentanyl deaths up 1,000% since 2013, so much so that even heroin's supply is dwarfed," 6 June 2018 The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office determined Taralyn died of an opiate overdose. Steven Martinez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Grafton man drove his daughter to pick up the heroin that killed her, complaint says," 22 Mar. 2018 Like many performers at the time, Elvis was a heavy user of a number of prescription medications including opiates, barbiturates, and sedatives. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Inside the Enduring Mysteries of Elvis Presley's Death," 16 Mar. 2019 But marijuana addiction does not involve the same risks as addiction to more dangerous drugs, like cocaine, opiates, or even smoked tobacco. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Fox News warns about THC gummies “ruining families” and “killing” Americans “every day.”," 3 Dec. 2018 The family of the late rock star Prince is suing a doctor who prescribed pain pills for him, saying the doctor failed to treat him for opiate addiction and therefore bears responsibility for his death two years ago, their attorney announced Friday. Steve Karnowski, Fox News, "Prince's family sues former doctor who prescribed him pain pills," 24 Aug. 2018 Some advocates say marijuana is better than opiates for pain. Peter B. Bach, WSJ, "If Weed Is Medicine, So Is Budweiser," 17 Jan. 2019 In this study, the participants were tested for opiates and cocaine three times a week and could earn a maximum of $997.50. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "The FDA Thinks This App Could Help People With Opioid Use Disorder Stay in Recovery," 17 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Concord, N.H., touting a federal plan to get tougher on fentanyl dealers in cities hit hardest by the opiate abuse crisis. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "The truth about Lawrence," 14 July 2018 To this administration, opiate addiction isn’t primarily about demand — about treating addicts and saving lives. Yvonne Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "The truth about Lawrence," 14 July 2018 The Nebraska State Patrol seized 118 pounds of fentanyl in April, making it the largest seizure of the opiate drug in the state's history. Joel Shannon, USA TODAY, "Near a Nebraska town, cops seize enough opioids to kill over 26 million," 26 May 2018 The Obama Foundation Fellowship selected Kang to keep up his civic engagement by building a comprehensive continuum of care for those with opiate addiction. Terry Demio, Cincinnati.com, "'There is hope.' Mercy Health psychologist gets Obama fellowship for addiction work," 24 Apr. 2018 Doctors often treat that condition with opiate medication, despite little evidence that opiates are actually effective for it. Christopher Ingraham, chicagotribune.com, "Two new studies show how marijuana can help fight the opioid epidemic," 2 Apr. 2018 The study was co-funded by Intelligent Fingerprinting, which makes a drug test that uses the sweat from fingerprints to test for cocaine, cannabis, and opiate use. Emily Price, Fortune, "You May Have Traces of Cocaine or Heroin on Your Fingertips Right Now," 22 Mar. 2018 More problematic is that some clinics, like Zong’s, offer a mix of services — treatment for both opiate addiction and pain. Brian Rinker, Washington Post, "A Battered Doctor, A Slain Patient And A Family’s Quest For Answers," 13 Mar. 2018 Opioid and opiate drugs bind to and activate opioid receptors in your brain, gut, and spinal cord. Tessie Castillo, SELF, "Here Are the Medications You Should Never Mix With Opioids," 6 Mar. 2018

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


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


1543, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Dictionary Entries near opiate



opianic acid





Statistics for opiate

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for opiate

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

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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


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 : a drug (as morphine, heroin, and codeine) containing or derived from opium and tending to induce sleep and to alleviate pain broadly : narcotic sense 1
2 : opioid sense 1 not used technically



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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More from Merriam-Webster on opiate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with opiate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for opiate

Spanish Central: Translation of opiate

Nglish: Translation of opiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opiate

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