American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A bitter, yellowish-brown, strongly addictive narcotic drug prepared from the dried juice of unripe pods of the opium poppy and containing alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, and papaverine.
- n. Something that numbs or stupefies.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The inspissated juice of Papaver somniferum, a poppy cultivated from early antiquity for the sake of this product. See poppy and Papaver. The opium exudes as a milky juice from shallow incisions made in the partly ripened capsules or heads still on the plant. It soon thickens, is collected by scraping, and kneaded into a homogeneous mass, forming then a reddish-brown sticky gum-like substance of bitter taste and peculiar odor. Opium was known to the Greeks, but was not much used before the seventeenth century; at present it is the most Important of all medicines, and its applications the most multifarious, the chief of them being for the relief of pain and the production of sleep. Its habitual use is disastrous and difficult to break up. It is classed as a stimulant narcotic, acting almost exclusively on the central nervous system when taken internally; in large quantities it is a powerful narcotic poison, resulting in a coma characterized by great contraction of the pupils, insensibility, and death. The chief active principle of opium is morphia, but it also contains at least sixteen other alkaloids, some of which have similar properties. (See
narcotine.) Though opium can be produced in Europe, the United States, etc., its commercial production is limited to countries where labor is cheap and the drug in common use, namely Turkey, Persia, Egypt, India, and China. The Western market is supplied largely from Asia Minor. The Indian export goes chiefly to China.
- n. uncountable A yellow-brown, addictive narcotic drug obtained from the dried juice of unripe pods of the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum, and containing alkaloids such as morphine, codeine, and papaverine.
- n. countable Anything that numbs or stupefies.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Chem.) The inspissated juice of the Papaver somniferum, or white poppy.
- n. an addictive narcotic extracted from seed capsules of the opium poppy
- From Latin opium and Ancient Greek ὄπιον (opion), from ὀπός (opos, "juice of a plant"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Latin, from Greek opion, diminutive of opos, vegetable juice. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“It was difficult to believe that his subjection to opium could much longer resist the stings of his own conscience, and the solicitations of his friends, as well as the pecuniary destitution to which his _opium habits_ had reduced him.”
“He was this actor who went out and partied all night, went to bed with three women at once and he hung out in opium dens, and places like that.”
“If we start buying up the opium from the farmers and burning it, then the supply of opium on the black market falls and so the price goes up.”
“In any case, the vast bulk of opium is grown in three areas – Wardak, Kandahar and Helmand, where the local control elements, whether Taliban or not, derive power from their drug income.”
“Growing opium is legal, btw, at least as far as federal law goes (and as far as growing it ....) ....”
“After all, in some parts of the world opium is smoked on a regular basis.”
“Could it be that opium is the perfect cinematic drug?" wonders Paul Matwychuk.”
“Ninety two percent of the world's opium is cultivated in Afghanistan.”
“Early indications suggest Afghanistan could see a further increase in opium production in 2007, the report said.”
“Hmm, it seems the battle against opium is not quite as successful as Condi and others would like us to believe.”
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