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

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

Adjective the soporific heat of summer this medication is soporific, so do not drive after taking it
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Yes, a gentle lavender-chamomile whatever is usually the soporific choice. Maggie Lange, Bon Appétit, "There's No Better Time to… Make Yourself a Bedtime Elixir," 28 Mar. 2020 The crew handed out our second meal, a soporific mélange of sweet potato soup, sandwiches and a panna cotta trifle. Sarah Lyall, New York Times, "Would 19 Hours and 16 Minutes in the Air Make Me Crazy?," 13 Nov. 2019 Yet each week, American state and local governments crank out hefty reports by the dozens, creating a dismal stack of soporific homework for money managers studying whether or not to buy their bonds., "Key site in downtown Weston up for sale," 17 Sep. 2019 This soporific status quo has served utilities rather well. The Economist, "Can American utilities profit from the energy transition?," 25 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The filmmakers hit the reset button again, to find new conflict-laden places to go, new soporific curses to do., "Angelina Jolie is back as Maleficent — and Michelle Pfeiffer better watch out - The Boston Globe," 17 Oct. 2019 And education’s soporific wonkitude works in its favor: Negotiations fly under the radar. Roger Sollenberger, The New Republic, "Higher Education Faces a Turning Point," 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, "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

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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Time Traveler for soporific

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The first known use of soporific was in 1665

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Last Updated

3 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Soporific.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for soporific


How to pronounce soporific (audio)

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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