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[som-nif-er-uh s, suh m-] /sɒmˈnɪf ər əs, səm-/
bringing or inducing sleep, as drugs or influences.
Origin of somniferous
1595-1605; < Latin somnifer inducing sleep (somni-, combining form of somnus sleep + -fer -fer) + -ous
Related forms
somniferously, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for somniferous
Historical Examples
  • Quaffing it down, and betaking himself to bed, under its somniferous influence, the Wye waterman is soon in the land of dreams.

    Gwen Wynn Mayne Reid
  • Caro spoke of his "serious blague," while Victor Hugo found him "somniferous."

    Egoists James Huneker
  • Her study of library-cataloguing, recording, books of reference, was easy and not too somniferous.

    Main Street Sinclair Lewis
  • I did not find the jolting of the cart at all disagreeable, on the contrary, it had quite a somniferous effect upon me.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • Night otherwise fallen dark and somniferous to modern mankind.

  • I did not find the jolting of the cart at all disagreeable; on the contrary, it had quite a somniferous effect upon me.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • Claude Bernard thought it the most somniferous of the opium alkaloids.

    Poisons: Their Effects and Detection Alexander Wynter Blyth
  • They were aware of the somniferous properties of the sap, and Dioscorides2005 mentions the variety with white seeds.

    Origin of Cultivated Plants Alphonse De Candolle
  • This yelp, sounding above the somniferous monotone of grumbling, stirred Cap'n Sproul from his dozing.

  • Other peasants danced slowly, in a circle, to the drone of the somniferous Servian bagpipe.

British Dictionary definitions for somniferous


(rare) tending to induce sleep
Derived Forms
somniferously, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin somnifer (from somnus sleep + ferre to do) + -ous
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 somniferous

"sleep-producing," c.1600, from Latin somnifer, from somni- "sleep" + ferre "to bear" (see infer). With -ous.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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somniferous in Medicine

somniferous som·nif·er·ous (sŏm-nĭf'ər-əs)
Inducing sleep; soporific.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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