An opiate is a drug such as morphine or heroin that is derived from opium. Used figuratively, it means something that calms or soothes.

Karl Marx famously said that religion was the opiate of the masses, which means he thought that it was religion that prevented working-class people from rising up against their leaders. Today, you might say that television has replaced religion as a mass opiate, but you'd need to say that during a commercial for anyone to pay much attention.

Definitions of opiate

n a narcotic drug that contains opium or an opium derivative

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derivative of opium; used as an antitussive (to relieve coughing) and an analgesic (to relieve pain)
Fentanyl, Sublimaze
trade names of a narcotic analgesic that can be inhaled and that acts on the central nervous system and may become addictive; used as a veterinary anesthetic and with other drugs before, during, and after surgery; also used as a nonlethal gas to incapacitate people in hostage situations; also abused as a recreational drug
diacetylmorphine, heroin
a narcotic that is considered a hard drug; a highly addictive morphine derivative; intravenous injection provides the fastest and most intense rush
laudanum, tincture of opium
narcotic consisting of an alcohol solution of opium or any preparation in which opium is the main ingredient
morphia, morphine
an alkaloid narcotic drug extracted from opium; a powerful, habit-forming narcotic used to relieve pain
a morphine derivative that is not as strong as morphine; used as an emetic and in small doses as a sedative
big H, hell dust, nose drops, scag, skag, smack, thunder
street names for heroin
Type of:
a drug that produces numbness or stupor; often taken for pleasure or to reduce pain; extensive use can lead to addiction

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