• WordNet 3.6
    • n opium an addictive narcotic extracted from seed capsules of the opium poppy
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: English traders introduced opium to China to create a market for the drug. They then traded silver for opium to help pay other Chinese traders for their tea.
    • n Opium (Chem) The inspissated juice of the Papaver somniferum, or white poppy.☞ Opium is obtained from incisions made in the capsules of the plant, and the best flows from the first incision. It is imported into Europe and America chiefly from the Levant, and large quantities are sent to China from India, Persia, and other countries. It is of a brownish yellow color, has a faint smell, and bitter and acrid taste. It is a stimulant narcotic poison, which may produce hallicinations, profound sleep, or death. It is much used in medicine to soothe pain and inflammation, and is smoked as an intoxicant with baneful effects.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In 1865 opium was grown in the state of Virginia and a product was distilled from it that yielded 4 percent morphine. In 1867 it was grown in Tennessee: six years later it was cultivated in Kentucky. During these years opium, marijuana and cocaine could be purchased legally over the counter from any druggist.
    • n opium 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.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The 1st US federal legislation prohibiting narcotics (opium) was enacted in 1909.
    • n Opium ō′pi-um the narcotic juice of the white poppy
    • ***


  • Antonin Artaud
    “It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present.”
  • Thomas De Quincey
    Thomas De Quincey
    “Thou hast the keys of Paradise, oh just, subtle, and mighty opium!”
  • Milan Kundera
    “Optimism is the opium of the people.”
  • Karl Marx
    “Religion is the opium of the masses.”
  • Karl Marx
    “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”
  • Henri Frederic Amiel
    “Thought is a kind of opium; it can intoxicate us, while still broad awake; it can make transparent the mountains and everything that exists.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., fr. Gr. poppy juice, dim. of vegetable juice
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L.,—Gr. opion, dim. from opos, sap.


In literature:

The consequent extension of the trade in opium, so strenuously opposed by the Chinese Government, incensed Emperor Taouk-Wang.
"A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year" by Edwin Emerson
Her next step in frightfulness was to introduce opium.
"Flash-lights from the Seven Seas" by William L. Stidger
I have said, that the Chinese Government derives a considerable revenue from the opium trade; and I will prove it.
"Trade and Travel in the Far East" by G. F. Davidson
When cooked, the ball of opium was thrust into a small hole in the bamboo opium pipe.
"The Critic in the Orient" by George Hamlin Fitch
From that day Mr. Fu never sold opium again.
"The Fulfilment of a Dream of Pastor Hsi's" by A. Mildred Cable
Certainly not last among the causes for its overthrow was the discontent aroused by its anti-opium policy.
"A Wayfarer in China" by Elizabeth Kendall
He was an opium smoker, and his hoarded store of the precious drug began to run very low.
"In Court and Kampong" by Hugh Clifford
The first opium known in China was grown in small quantities in one of its own provinces, that of Yunnam, which was used medicinally.
"Kathay: A Cruise in the China Seas" by W. Hastings Macaulay
One soon learns to detect an opium-eating people, and here we found examples all about us in every relation of life.
"Due West" by Maturin Murray Ballou
He was extensively engaged in the opium trade, and had large quantities of it stored in his dwelling.
"As I Remember" by Marian Gouverneur

In poetry:

"We bring you small-pox from our land -
Nay, do not raise your ire,
We opium bring - a noble band,
And to your wealth aspire."
"The Chinaman" by Anonymous Oceania
First they stole from the Meo Tribes
Up in the hills they started taking bribes
Then they sent their soldiers up to Shan
Collecting opium to send to The Man
"CIA Dope Calypso" by Allen Ginsberg
He got so sloppy and peddled so loose
He busted himself and cooked his own goose
Took the reward for the opium load
Seizing his own haul which same he resold
"CIA Dope Calypso" by Allen Ginsberg
Touby Lyfong he worked for the French
A big fat man liked to dine & wench
Prince of the Meos he grew black mud
Till opium flowed through the land like a flood
"CIA Dope Calypso" by Allen Ginsberg
We whisper the poor man’s story:
His life was crossed by a fatal love,
And he was swept up in the disastrous opium craze;
At that time he occupied the post at Singapore...
"Argentine Republic — La Plata" by Henry Jean-Marie Levet
Operation Haylift Offisir Wm Colby
Saw Marshall Ky fly opium Mr. Mustard told me
Indochina desk he was Chief of Dirty Tricks
"Hitch-hiking" with dope pushers was how he got his fix
"CIA Dope Calypso" by Allen Ginsberg

In news:

Watching the budget process in Lansing these days is like an opium-hazed scene from "Alice in Wonderland.".
Bestselling author Anne Perry sets her latest William and Hester Monk mystery in 1864, at a time when politicians were taking a harder look at whether opium sales should be controlled.
In Chapter 12, "The Opium Fields," author Marc Lewis recounts one night spent in the brain chemistry-bending grip of opium addiction.
Taliban resurgence and bumper opium crop offer new threats to stability.
Odyssey of an American opium addict.
Afghanistan's Opium Profits Soared in 2011.
Afghanistan's Opium Production on the Rise.
Afghan opium production at its peak, in 2007: 18 million pounds.
Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world's illicit opium .
Emily Blunt is the Face of Opium , D&G's Last Runway Walk Plus More.
Emily Blunt is the new face of YSL Opium .
Content Tagged ' Opium '.
Afghan opium poppy cultivation up.
The United Nations says Afghan farmers have increased their opium poppy production by about 18 percent this year, compared to last year.
OPIUM A Portrait of the Heavenly Demon.