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

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
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On the witness stand Wednesday, Johnny Depp went into detail about his opiate detox and the violent argument with fellow actor Amber Heard that allegedly left him without part of the middle finger on his right hand. Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 What Glaser recommends instead is a less absolutist approach, notably touting naltrexone, an opiate antagonist, as a way to cut back on booze. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 In addition to basset hounds, websites allegedly linked to Noel have offered maltipoo puppies and marijuana and prescription opiate cough syrup, according to the lawsuit. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 Indianapolis, which initially sued a handful of opioid distributors and manufacturers in 2017, later joined other municipalities as plaintiffs in a massive national opiate litigation in federal U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Ohio. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Apr. 2022 In recent years, many efforts have been made, including not criminally charging opiate overdose patients, to prevent unnecessary death due to fear of calling 911. Christopher Keating, courant.com, 22 Mar. 2022 The woman was likely held down by community members or given some kind of opiate or psychotropic drug to relieve pain or even lose consciousness. Jane Recker, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Feb. 2022 Prosecutors said a number of pills were found in Skaggs' hotel room, including a blue pill resembling an oxycodone tablet, which analysis revealed was laced with fentanyl, the powerful synthetic opiate. NBC News, 18 Feb. 2022 There is always religion, the opiate of the masses. Meghan O'gieblyn, Wired, 6 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Current and former inmates have told The San Diego Union-Tribune that people turn to smuggled drugs to offset the side effects of opiate withdrawal, which can last for days and include vomiting, seizures and muscle pain. Kelly Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11 May 2022 The country already had some of the highest rates of opiate addiction in the world, according to the latest U.N. data. Washington Post, 2 May 2022 Quitting with the use of opiate antagonists, hot yoga, and nonalcoholic tequila seems every bit as righteous—and evidently more effective—than sweating it out in the rooms. Virginia Heffernan, Wired, 19 Apr. 2022 Before describing the drama in Australia, Depp had gone into detail about his struggle to detox from the opiate Roxicodone while on his private island with his doctor, his nurse and his then-wife. Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Advocates say that the record highs in overdose deaths highlight the importance of adopting new strategies to combat the opiate epidemic. Byeli Cahan, ABC News, 12 Apr. 2022 The latest settlement is part of a flurry of litigation surrounding the nation's opiate crisis. Amelia Pak-harvey, The Indianapolis Star, 7 Apr. 2022 Kelly’s Laurie may or may not spend all day on a massage chair — either to ease into an opiate-fueled high or to give-off Dr. Evil vibes. Mónica Marie Zorrilla, Variety, 13 Feb. 2022 Freedom House for Women: $25,000 for the Courage to Change program, which offers peer support services for women with opiate use disorder. Megan Becka, cleveland, 1 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near opiate

opianic acid

opiate

opiatic

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Statistics for opiate

Last Updated

26 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Opiate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opiate. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for opiate

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

More from Merriam-Webster on opiate

Nglish: Translation of opiate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opiate

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