[lawd-n-uhm, lawd-nuhm]
a tincture of opium.
Obsolete. any preparation in which opium is the chief ingredient.

1595–1605; orig. Medieval Latin variant of ladanum; arbitrarily used by Paracelsus to name a remedy based on opium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
laudanum (ˈlɔːdənəm)
1.  a tincture of opium
2.  (formerly) any medicine of which opium was the main ingredient
[C16: New Latin, name chosen by Paracelsus for a preparation probably containing opium, perhaps based on labdanum]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1543, Mod.L., coined by Paracelsus for a medicine he mixed, supposed to contain gold and crushed pearls and many expensive ingredients, but probably most effective because it contained opium. Perhaps from L. laudere "to praise," or from L. ladanum "a gum resin," from Gk. ladanon, perhaps of Sem. origin.
The word soon came to be used for "any alcoholic tincture of opium."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

laudanum lau·da·num (lôd'n-əm)
A tincture of opium, formerly used as a drug.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
She took a big dose of laudanum, and fearing that that would not be sufficient, turned on the gas.
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