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

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 Although contractors appear to be taking a more tolerant approach to marijuana, opiate abuse continues to plague the industry. Aldo Svaldi, The Denver Post, "Colorado’s construction industry finds no relief from labor shortages," 28 Aug. 2019 To reduce her dependence on opiates, Michaels last year tried medical marijuana. Kristin E. Holmes, chicagotribune.com, "Religious communities consider how much faith to put in marijuana," 26 Aug. 2019 Synthetic opiates including fentanyl continued to drive tens of thousands of deaths in 2018. Washington Post, "Drug overdoses fell significantly in 2018 for first time in decades, provisional CDC data show," 17 July 2019 Detection dogs can alert officers to 19,000 types of explosives, while other canines are trained to smell marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, opiates and LSD. Anchorage Daily News, "How fentanyl flowed through the U.S. Postal Service and across the southern border," 25 Aug. 2019 Under the Influence, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia: On Aug. 17, a 32-year-old in 00 block of Curtner Avenue was found to be under the combined influence of a stimulant and an opiate. Jake Richardson, The Mercury News, "Campbell crime report for the week of Aug. 30," 22 Aug. 2019 If Leech Lake had to pay back the $13 million, Fineday said the tribe would have to end its opiate treatment program and potentially some other services. Ryan Faircloth, Twin Cities, "Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan: Situation between DHS and tribes is ‘unacceptable’," 14 Aug. 2019 The addictive, synthetic opiate is up to 100 times more potent than other prescription opioids, Coffin said. Lauren Hernández, SFChronicle.com, "Fentanyl overdose deaths soared in 2018 with 89 dead," 7 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Many of these tests of psilocybin are novel: The studies on anorexia, Alzheimer’s, opiate addiction, and Lyme disease will all be the first of their kind. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "A multi-million dollar donation just created a bonanza of magic mushroom research," 4 Sep. 2019 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

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

13 Sep 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

Comments on opiate

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concealment of treason or felony

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