N: 1. “inspissated juice of the poppy plant,” especially as used in medicine from 17c. for relief of pain and production of sleep, late 14c., from Latin opium, from Greek opion “poppy juice, poppy,” diminutive of opos “vegetable juice, plant juice, fig curd,” from PIE *sokwo– “juice, resin” (source also of Old Church Slavonic soki “juice,” Lithuanian sakaī (plural) “resin”).
The British Opium War against China lasted from 1839-42; the name is attested from 1841. Opium-eater, one who habitually uses opium in some form, is by 1821.
2. A yellow to dark brown, addicting, narcotic drug prepared from the juice of the unripe seed capsules of the opium poppy: it contains such alkaloids as morphine, codeine, and papaverine, and is used as an intoxicant and medicinally to relieve pain and produce sleep.
3. Opium, narcotic drug that is obtained from the unripe seedpods of the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), a plant of the family Papaveraceae. (See poppy.) Opium is obtained by slightly incising the seed capsules of the poppy after the plant’s flower petals have fallen. The slit seedpods exude a milky latex that coagulates and changes colour, turning into a gumlike brown mass upon exposure to air. This raw opium may be ground into a powder, sold as lumps, cakes, or bricks, or treated further to obtain derivatives such as morphine, codeine, and heroin. Opium and the drugs obtained from it are called opiates.
4. Opium Alkaloids: The pharmacologically active principles of opium reside in its alkaloids, the most important of which, morphine, constitutes about 10 percent by weight of raw opium. Other active alkaloids such as papaverine and codeine are present in smaller proportions. Opium alkaloids are of two types, depending on chemical structure and action. Morphine, codeine, and thebaine, which represent one type, act upon the central nervous system and are analgesic, narcotic, and potentially addicting compounds. Papaverine, noscapine (formerly called narcotine), and most of the other opium alkaloids act only to relax involuntary (smooth) muscles.
5. Phraseology (fixed expression and collocations): “religion is the opium of the people” (which is usually translated as “religion is the opiate of the masses” by Karl Marx (1818-1883).
– verb + opium: smoke.
– opium + noun: poppy; den.
6. Cultural Interrelation: Opium Wars, two armed conflicts in China in the mid-19th century between the forces of Western countries and of the Qing dynasty, which ruled China from 1644 to 1911/12. The first Opium War (1839–42) was fought between China and Britain, and the second Opium War (1856–60), also known as the Arrow War or the Anglo-French War in China, was fought by Britain and France against China.
S: 1. OED – https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=opium (last access: 15 July 2020). 2. TERMIUM PLUS – https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2alpha/alpha-eng.html?lang=eng&i=1&srchtxt=opium&codom2nd_wet=1#resultrecs (last access: 15 July 2020). 3&4. EncBrit – https://www.britannica.com/science/opium (last access: 15 July 2020). 5. Learnrel – https://www.learnreligions.com/karl-marx-on-religion-251019 (last access: 16 July 2020); OCD – http://www.freecollocation.com/search1?word=opium (last access: 16 July 2020). 6. EncBrit. – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Opium-Wars (last access: 16 July 2020).