1 of 2


sop·​o·​rif·​ic ˌsä-pə-ˈri-fik How to pronounce soporific (audio)
: causing or tending to cause sleep
soporific drugs
: tending to dull awareness or alertness
: of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy


2 of 2


: a soporific agent
specifically : hypnotic sense 1

Did you know?

Soporific comes from Latin sopor, which means "deep sleep." That root is related to somnus, the Latin word for "sleep." Despite its meaning, somnus has been active, giving English somnolence (sleepiness), somnambulism (sleepwalking), and many other "sleepy" words.

Examples of soporific in a Sentence

Adjective the soporific heat of summer this medication is soporific, so do not drive after taking it
Recent Examples on the Web
Perhaps appropriately, one of the last bastions is the county championship, an event steeped in tradition but sometimes a soporific one. Victor Mather, New York Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Presumably filmed as an educational video on the Alexander Technique, a method of posture and movement coaching, the video has all the soporific features of a winning ASMR video. Eliza Brooke, New York Times, 4 July 2023 The air is radiant with orange blossom; you are invited to crush geranium leaves in your hands, or to flutter your fingers through a purple haze of lavender and inhale the soporific scent. April Long, Town & Country, 22 June 2023 This bedtime hormone isn’t a soporific (sleep inducer) but a part of the circadian rhythm, a person’s internal biological clock that’s tuned in to the sleep-wake cycle. Elana Spivack, Scientific American, 5 May 2023 But that was not the case this year, which proved more soporific than Ambien. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 1 May 2023 Only the library had survived the friars’ long sleep, though barely; even its soporific dust, felled by time, failed to fly up. Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine , 10 Apr. 2023 Part of the thrill is the proximity of beauty to danger, fragility to force; Rittson-Thomas likewise covers the ground of her orchard in the Cotswolds with blood-red common poppies, cousins to the powerful opium poppy, which carry their own soporific tinge. Ligaya Mishan, New York Times, 27 Aug. 2020 The Late Late Show is still soporific. Vulture, 30 Sep. 2022
Despite the vicious—and mostly ineffective—GOP attacks on Biden’s mental acuity, the former vice president gave listeners a level of detail Thursday night that bordered on the soporific. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 15 Oct. 2020 The filmmakers hit the reset button again, to find new conflict-laden places to go, new soporific curses to do., 17 Oct. 2019 And education’s soporific wonkitude works in its favor: Negotiations fly under the radar. Roger Sollenberger, The New Republic, 5 Aug. 2019 Norton, who has already completed the 12-hour sleep-coaching program with his own Tier X trainer, takes me up to the hotel’s penthouse suite to watch the sunset over the Hudson and sample a line of soporific CBD chocolates. Howie Kahn, WSJ, 27 Mar. 2019 Like at night, when the soft beds and gentle rhythms of the train become a potent soporific. Jo Rodgers, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Sep. 2018 After a soporific first 45 minutes ended scoreless, more than 40,000 spectators at the Rostov Arena had little reason to expect the remarkable, rollicking second half that awaited them. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 4 July 2018 This never made sense anyway, though for the gullible few, inflamed rhetoric has apparently served as an effective soporific. Thomas Jewell,, 3 Jan. 2018 The flow is further evident in the variety of tracks, which span the gamut from lush deep house rhythms to soporific electronica and ambient compositions. Michael Sundius, Billboard, 30 Oct. 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'soporific.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



probably from French soporifique, from Latin sopor deep sleep; akin to Latin somnus sleep — more at somnolent

First Known Use


1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1727, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of soporific was in 1665


Dictionary Entries Near soporific

Cite this Entry

“Soporific.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
so·​po·​rif·​ic -ˈrif-ik How to pronounce soporific (audio)
: causing or tending to cause sleep


2 of 2 noun
: a soporific agent (as a drug)

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