sop·​o·​rif·​ic | \ ˌsä-pə-ˈri-fik How to pronounce soporific (audio) \

Definition of soporific

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : causing or tending to cause sleep soporific drugs
b : tending to dull awareness or alertness
2 : of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy



Definition of soporific (Entry 2 of 2)

: a soporific agent specifically : hypnotic sense 1

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Synonyms & Antonyms for soporific

Synonyms: Adjective

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

Antonyms: Adjective


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Did You Know?


"It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific.' I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I am not a rabbit." In The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter, the children of Benjamin Bunny were very nearly done in by Mr. McGregor because they ate soporific lettuces that put them into a deep sleep. Their near fate can help you recall the history of soporific. The term traces to the Latin noun sopor, which means "deep sleep." (That root is related to somnus, the Latin word for sleep and the name of the Roman god of sleep.) French speakers used sopor as the basis of soporifique, which was probably the model for the English soporific.

Examples of soporific in a Sentence


the soporific heat of summer this medication is soporific, so do not drive after taking it

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Soon, Dash began succumbing to its soporific rhythm. Laura Dannen Redman, Condé Nast Traveler, "18 Summers: The Ultimate Guide to Not Wasting a Single Vacation With Your Kids," 20 July 2018 Bonus: By boosting serotonin, carbs help induce a relaxed, soporific state. Gretchen Röehrs, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Reverse-Aging Diet (Yes, You Can Have Carbs)," 9 Mar. 2018 The intermissionless production takes its time, building to a chilling climax over 135 sometimes soporific minutes. Laura Collins-hughes, New York Times, "Review: Pulled Apart by ‘Love and Intrigue’," 8 June 2018 Or, rather, the pseudo-activity of a free-market model, which keeps people soporific? Peter Pomerantsev, New York Times, "What Trained Bears Can Teach Us About Formerly Authoritarian Countries," 3 May 2018 Shows like Forensic Files and The New Detectives covered one case (or sometimes more) per episode, relying on stagey re-enactments and soporific interviews with local law enforcement to sketch out the rough outlines of a murder or a disappearance. Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "How The Staircase Defined True Crime Series," 11 June 2018 Playwright Ayad Akhtar’s script keeps things moving, never getting too bogged down in the financial flimflammery to lose audiences — a neat trick given the occasionally soporific nature of high finance to anyone who’s not an account. Constance Grady, Vox, "Your guide to the 17 most important nominees at this year’s Tonys," 7 June 2018 Disjointed and direct, exhilarating and soporific, cerebral and squirrelly: The Image Book is lots of contradictory things at once. Stephanie Zacharek, Time, "Cannes Review: Jean-Luc Godard's The Image Book Confounds and Dazzles," 14 May 2018 To avoid muddying the texture, pianists rely on a clean, detached style, and as a result the music too often sounds subdued, fastidious, even soporific. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The Rebel Harpsichordists," 14 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "The Hotel Where You’ll Be ‘Sleep-Coached’ Into Bed," 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, "The Most Romantic Way to Get From Singapore to Bangkok," 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, "World Cup 2018: Belgium Shocks Japan With Stunning Rally," 4 July 2018 This never made sense anyway, though for the gullible few, inflamed rhetoric has apparently served as an effective soporific. Thomas Jewell,, "A Noble choice: Carol Roe selected as new Cleveland Heights mayor," 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, "Nic Fanciulli Talks Collaborating with Gorillaz's Damon Albarn, Releases Debut Album 'My Heart'," 30 Oct. 2017 Tennis would appear to be inherently ill suited to radio, both overly busy and potentially as soporific, in terms of narration, as something like the shipping news. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "‘Youzhny Lobs! Federer’s Underneath!’ Challenge of Tennis on Radio," 8 Sep. 2017 Walker, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, even goes so far as to pre-emptively acknowledge his book’s potential soporific powers. David Kamp, New York Times, "Exploring the Necessity and Virtue of Sleep," 10 Oct. 2017 McConnell’s defeatism is both a soporific for the Right and a stimulant for the Left. Deroy Murdock, National Review, "Senate Majority Leader McConnell Should . . . Lead the Senate Majority," 10 July 2017

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


1665, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


circa 1727, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for soporific


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

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The first known use of soporific was in 1665

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English Language Learners Definition of soporific

formal : causing a person to become tired and ready to fall asleep


so·​po·​rif·​ic | \ -ˈrif-ik How to pronounce soporific (audio) \

Medical Definition of soporific

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: causing or tending to cause sleep



Medical Definition of soporific (Entry 2 of 2)

: a soporific agent (as a drug)

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