opium

noun
opi·​um | \ ˈō-pē-əm How to pronounce opium (audio) \

Definition of opium

1 : a bitter brownish addictive narcotic drug that consists of the dried latex obtained from immature seed capsules of the opium poppy
2 : something having an effect like that of opium

Examples of opium in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the 19th century Opium Wars, Britain forced China to allow the opium trade. Washington Post, "The Opioid Crisis," 29 Mar. 2016 The list of items to be tariffed (below) is 122 pages long, covering everything from the strange, like saps and extracts of opium, to the dangerous, such as tanks and other armored fighting vehicles. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "These China-made goods will soon cost more thanks to Trump’s tariffs," 31 Aug. 2019 An American tie salesman and a missionary team up to track down missing opium in 1938 China. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 British India was opium drunk on securing Tibet as a market route into China. Ailsa Ross, Longreads, "Mountains, Transcending," 9 Aug. 2019 Guests describe chairs upholstered in leopard print, a twice life-sized sculpture of a naked African warrior, and a framed picture of a woman holding an opium pipe and caressing a lion skin. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "The Secret History of Jeffrey Epstein's New York Townhouse," 10 July 2019 Hong Kong was part of the humiliation, after Britain invaded the island in 1841 as a staging point for the First Opium War — forcing China to accept opium in payment for tea — which is why the return of Hong Kong meant so much. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "A new protest generation in Hong Kong takes on China. Will Beijing let them win?," 5 July 2019 Conservative lawmaker Rory Stewart joined the fray at the end of May, confessing to smoking opium at a wedding in Iran. Tara John, CNN, "British prime minister hopeful reportedly admits to cocaine use, but the public may not care," 8 June 2019 In its sequel, The Dragon Republic, Rin is now on the run and seeking to murder the Empress who betrayed her country, while struggling with her addiction to opium and the commands of the Phoenix, a god who has incredible powers. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "10 new science fiction and fantasy novels to check out this August," 1 Aug. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for opium

Middle English, from Latin, from Greek opion, from diminutive of opos sap

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Statistics for opium

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for opium

The first known use of opium was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for opium

opium

noun

English Language Learners Definition of opium

: a powerful illegal drug that is made from a type of poppy

opium

noun
opi·​um | \ ˈō-pē-əm How to pronounce opium (audio) \

Kids Definition of opium

: a bitter brownish narcotic drug that is the dried juice of a poppy of Europe and Asia

opium

noun
opi·​um | \ ˈō-pē-əm How to pronounce opium (audio) \

Medical Definition of opium

: a highly addictive drug that consists of the dried milky juice from the seed capsules of the opium poppy obtained from incisions made in the unripe capsules of the plant, that has a brownish yellow color, a faint smell, and a bitter and acrid taste, that is a stimulant narcotic usually producing a feeling of well-being, hallucinations, and drowsiness terminating in coma or death if the dose is excessive, that was formerly used in medicine to soothe pain but is now often replaced by derivative alkaloids (as morphine or codeine) or synthetic substitutes, and that is smoked illicitly as an intoxicant with harmful effects

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More from Merriam-Webster on opium

Spanish Central: Translation of opium

Nglish: Translation of opium for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of opium for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about opium

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