Word: soporific

Pronunciation: sah-pə-RI-fik

Part of Speech: adjective

Definition: tending to induce drowsiness or sleep

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


Have you ever been doing or experiencing something and suddenly started to feel drowsy because of it? Well, that activity had a “soporific” effect on you. We’ve all encountered something at one time or another that made us sleepy: medicine, a long plane ride, a boring movie. And if we’re going to subject our characters to the same kind of experiences, why not have an uncommon word handy to define whatever is putting them to sleep?

Something that’s “soporific” has a tendency to include sleepiness or drowsiness in people. The word arose in the mid 17th century and can be traced back to the French adjective soporifique. This adjective in turn is derived from the Latin noun sopor, meaning “deep sleep”.

Aside from its primary definition, “soporific” can also be used to describe a person who is feeling sleepy or drowsy. Another sub-definition of the word is “tediously boring or monotonous”, and in some cases it functions as a noun to refer to “a drug or other agent that induces sleep”. Whatever the context, “soporific” is a good word to keep in mind for anything in your stories that puts your characters to sleep. Just try to make sure your writing isn’t “soporific” to your readers! Good luck!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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