Definition of soporific in English:



  • 1Tending to induce drowsiness or sleep.

    ‘the motion of the train had a somewhat soporific effect’
    • ‘Its concrete surface is the most soporific in the UK, and has been blamed for lulling drivers to sleep.’
    • ‘Black Nielson overshadowed them, with drowsy, soporific vocals, and unexpected twists and turns within each song.’
    • ‘Inactivity is soporific while exercise revives a sleepy brain.’
    • ‘Or that certain rock records (hello, late seventies?) aren't among the most soporific music ever devised.’
    • ‘Police Beat has a dreamlike quality; the strange crimes, quiet voice-over and soporific music meld together into a fascinating - and often comic experience.’
    • ‘Regretfully, I know no soporific agent to make it all painless so that later on there is only a tiny scar on the skin that would remind one of the process.’
    • ‘As regards the insomnia I've had lately, I can heartily recommend Somnus, a soporific combination of Lettuce extract and Valerian.’
    • ‘His voice is hypnotic, soporific - the kind of voice that could mesmerise you into taking all your clothes off and biting into an onion.’
    • ‘Fortunately, the orchestra was not so soporific.’
    • ‘Apart from these obvious attractions, I have always found it difficult to understand the appeal of this leisurely, some might say, soporific sport.’
    • ‘When treated with skill, though, it can be sensational, and small quantities added to a soporific bed of Merlot can turn a snooze into a dance.’
    • ‘The soporific sound of creaking pine is usually enjoyed naked, with a chilled bottle of beer in one hand and, for authenticity, a leafy birch whisk in the other.’
    • ‘Instead, I stood mesmerised by his soporific chanting.’
    • ‘Fort's colourful and amusing prose meanders through picturesque towns and sleepy villages where soporific suppers are served.’
    • ‘If you've been to Fiji, you've probably been talked into a bowl of kava, a soporific drink made out of the crushed roots of a local shrub and traditionally drunk with coconut cups.’
    • ‘It was the air-con going off that disturbed my slumber once that soporific hum stopped.’
    • ‘My nerves, still shredded from the bruising motorway journey North, gradually soothed as I lay back in the warm, soporific waters of the outdoor whirlpool, staring at the inky black night sky.’
    • ‘We are sitting through a multitude of soporific briefings.’
    • ‘And, while coffee prompted psychosis and sleeplessness, cocktails were soporific.’
    • ‘I shook my head and looked down at Shadow, now resting peacefully, the soporific noises of the waterfall lulling him to sleep.’
    1. 1.1Sleepy or drowsy.
      ‘some medicine made her soporific’
      • ‘Those intrusions of the world outside awaken me from my soporific slumber, as I dwell in drowsy numbness, as though of hemlock I have drunk.’
      • ‘In our sleepy little town where things moved with the soporific gait of undersea vegetation, high fashion made its startling appearance all of a sudden!’
      • ‘The combined talents of Larsson and his English foil were responsible for earning Celtic an early lead, but soporific defending also helped the home cause.’
    2. 1.2Tediously boring or monotonous.
      ‘a libel trial is in large parts intensely soporific’
      • ‘But when she read and when she lectured, it sounded like some soporific narration from the Discovery Channel.’
      • ‘No matter what your allegiances - we need a contest of ideas at the next election - and we look like we will get a contest of the soporific, idea-less and boring.’
      • ‘In this it resembles a political speech, written to lull, and, by its soporific cadence and vocabulary, to allow the listener to intuit whatever the hell she wants.’
      • ‘‘I have seen far too many soporific PowerPoint presentations that have a lot of power, but no point,’ Brewer has been heard to say, more than once.’
      • ‘His butler bosses him, and he spends all day dictating boring letters to other bankers and presiding at soporific board meetings.’
      • ‘In February, a radio reading of Ulysses began with 20 45-minute, perplexing, soporific episodes running through to June.’
      • ‘The pros and cons of this fanciful idea are hard to assess, since he talks in a soporific monotone that renders half of what he says inaudible.’
      • ‘I become overwhelmed by waves of ‘couldn't care less-ness’ every time I hear their soporific goo.’
      • ‘I certainly wouldn't read books if they were boring, irrelevant and soporific - which is how most high school kids regard the classics of world literature.’
      • ‘Between each petition was the soporific chorus, ‘Remember, remember.’’
      • ‘Perelman's slow, reverent approach to the material borders on the soporific at times and perhaps a more experienced director might have been able to find the light and shade in the story.’
      • ‘The Chancellor has overseen low interest rates, high employment and financial stability for several years, a soporific success story.’
      • ‘Not sure why Penguin are reissuing Toujours Provence, other than it's 10 years since this soporific fluff was first published.’
      sleep-inducing, somnolent, sedative, calmative, tranquillizing, narcotic, opiate, drowsy, sleepy, somniferous
      boring, dull, deadly dull, monotonous
      View synonyms


  • A drug or other agent that induces sleep.

    • ‘It was used not just for their edification, but also - at least until not too long ago - as a soporific.’
    • ‘When Walter was courting India, he spoke to her one night of Ruskin (she was impressed), but by middle age he reads only mystery novels, ‘as soporifics.’’
    • ‘Having once driven a Volvo - although not the admirable, if underpowered, 1800 - the Professor has little faith in the Swede's ability to produce anything but soporifics.’
    • ‘The options menu spared me the torment of the looped piano soporific that they have passed off as background music.’
    • ‘However, it seems that during the Middle Ages it was the wild L. perennis, perennial lettuce, which was eaten in salads by peasants; while the ancestral prickly lettuce continued to be used medicinally, and as a soporific.’
    • ‘The Benzos are not directly soporifics.’
    • ‘Like an insomniac passing the time, she stares blindly into the artificial luminescence, as though hoping for either a diversion or a soporific.’
    • ‘Thinking of a love spell in terms of a chemical or mechanical soporific is missing the point, from my perspective.’
    • ‘A local Burmese solidarity group wants you to think twice about the country of origin of your favourite soporific.’
    • ‘Even if you do baulk at some of the more outlandish examples of soporifics cited or quibble with a theory or two, Martin's message is strangely comforting.’
    • ‘The rally acted not as a spur to opposition sentiment, but as a soporific.’
    • ‘Cucumber vines might be trained on the fence, or hopvines, the dried flowers of which were used in making bread and beer, as well as for a pillow filling that was highly regarded as a soporific for insomniacs.’
    • ‘But the All Saints and Enya, although scientifically sound, can be dangerously strong soporifics to many.’
    • ‘The combination of marriage and motor vehicles is the most potent soporific of them all.’
    • ‘The meal was light - perhaps eggs and a posset (hot milk fortified with sugar, spices, eggs, and wine, brandy, or ale, and on one notable occasion with additional soporifics by Lady Macbeth).’
    • ‘For all the pain and suffering I believe his papacy brought to the world, I hoped his passing was eased with some soporific.’
    • ‘Prayer was always something of a soporific for her; she prayed at night in bed but was usually asleep long before she said ‘Amen.’’
    • ‘That makes it interesting to observers of American culture, but to Americans themselves it is a delightful soporific.’
    • ‘My plan is to reserve soporifics for the bathroom and put all the invigorating stuff in the kitchen.’
    • ‘Its direction is so unpredictable, you shouldn't expect a general soporific.’
    sleeping pill, sleeping potion, sedative, calmative, tranquillizer, narcotic, opiate
    View synonyms


Mid 17th century: from Latin sopor sleep + -ific.