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[nahr-kot-ik] /nɑrˈkɒt ɪk/
any of a class of substances that blunt the senses, as opium, morphine, belladonna, and alcohol, that in large quantities produce euphoria, stupor, or coma, that when used constantly can cause habituation or addiction, and that are used in medicine to relieve pain, cause sedation, and induce sleep.
anything that exercises a soothing or numbing effect or influence:
Television is a narcotic for many people.
of or having the power to produce narcosis, as a drug.
pertaining to or of the nature of narcosis.
of or relating to narcotics or their use.
used by, or in the treatment of, narcotic addicts.
1350-1400; Middle English narcotik(e) (noun) < Medieval Latin narcōticum < Greek narkōtikón, noun use of neuter of narkōtikós benumbing, equivalent to narkō- (variant stem of narkoûn to benumb; see narco-) + -tikos -tic
Related forms
narcotically, adverb
antinarcotic, adjective, noun
antinarcotics, adjective
nonnarcotic, adjective, noun
prenarcotic, adjective
pseudonarcotic, adjective, noun
seminarcotic, adjective
subnarcotic, adjective
unnarcotic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for narcotics
  • If you are a real poet, you are hooked more deeply than any narcotics addict could possibly be on heroin.
  • Surgeons and dentists are usually quite amenable to writing narcotics prescriptions after performing procedures.
  • The agency also uses dogs to detect narcotics, explosives, and currency.
  • Trainers begin by scenting towels with narcotics odors and having the dogs retrieve them.
  • Designer drugs are the new battleground in the global war on narcotics.
  • Every day, they intercept an illicit flow of narcotics, money and weapons headed both north and south across the border.
  • If methamphetamine was that universally dangerous it wouldn't be prescribed, and neither would narcotics.
  • And, severely addicted people on certain narcotics not only need help in getting off their addiction.
  • These same satellites are used to locate areas growing illegal narcotics.
  • People with severe weight problems sometimes say their cravings for food feel as powerful as those caused by narcotics.
British Dictionary definitions for narcotics


any of a group of drugs, such as heroin, morphine, and pethidine, that produce numbness and stupor. They are used medicinally to relieve pain but are sometimes also taken for their pleasant effects; prolonged use may cause addiction
anything that relieves pain or induces sleep, mental numbness, etc
any illegal drug
of, relating to, or designating narcotics
of or relating to narcotics addicts or users
of or relating to narcosis
Derived Forms
narcotically, adverb
Word Origin
C14: via Medieval Latin from Greek narkōtikós, from narkoūn to render numb, from narkē numbness
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for narcotics



late 14c., from Old French narcotique (early 14c.), noun use of adjective, and directly from Medieval Latin narcoticum, from Greek narkotikon, neuter of narkotikos "making stiff or numb," from narkotos, verbal adjective of narcoun "to benumb, make unconscious," from narke "numbness, deadness, stupor, cramp" (also "the electric ray"), perhaps from PIE root *(s)nerq- "to turn, twist." Sense of "any illegal drug" first recorded 1926, American English. Related: Narcotics.


c.1600, from Middle French narcotique (14c.) or German narkotisch and directly from Medieval Latin narcoticus, from Greek narkotikos (see narcotic (n.)). Related: Narcotical (1580s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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narcotics in Medicine

narcotic nar·cot·ic (när-kŏt'ĭk)
A drug derived from opium or opiumlike compounds, with potent analgesic effects associated with significant alteration of mood and behavior, and with the potential for dependence and tolerance following repeated administration. adj.
Capable of inducing a state of stuporous analgesia.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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narcotics in Science
Any of a group of highly addictive analgesic drugs derived from opium or opiumlike compounds. Narcotics can cause drowsiness and significant alterations of mood and behavior.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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