Sally M (sallymn) wrote in 1word1day,
Sally M

Sunday Word: Soporific

soporific [sop-uh-rif-ik, soh-puh-]

1 causing or tending to cause sleep; tending to dull awareness or alertness
2 of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy

something that causes sleep, as a medicine or drug.


To avoid muddying the texture, pianists rely on a clean, detached style, and as a result the music too often sounds subdued, fastidious, even soporific. (Alex Ross, The Rebel Harpsichordists, New Yorker)

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)

The first pages of most of these old papers are as soporific as a bed of poppies. (Nathaniel Hawthorne, Old News)


1680s, from French soporifique (17c), formed in French from Latin sopor (genitive soporis) 'deep sleep' (from PIE root swep- 'to sleep'). As a noun from 1722. Earlier as an adjective was soporiferous (1580s as 'characterized by excessive sleep,' c 1600 as '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. (Merriam-Webster)

Tags: adjective, french, latin, noun, s, wordsmith: sallymn

  • Sunday Word: Interlocutor

    interlocutor[in-ter- lok-y uh-ter] noun: 1 one who takes part in dialogue or conversation 2 the performer in a minstrel show who is placed…

  • Wednesday Word: Déraciné

    Déraciné - noun or adjective. You may know déraciné as the title of a video game, but this French word can also be used as an adjective or noun.…

  • Tuesday word: Convoluted

    Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 Convoluted (adjective) con·vo·lut·ed [kon-vuh-loo-tid] adjective 1. twisted; coiled. 2. complicated; intricately…

  • Post a new comment


    Comments allowed for members only

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 1 comment