Definition of laudanum noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//ˈlɔːdənəm//
; NAmE NAmE//ˈlɔːdənəm//
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a drug made from opium. In the past, people used to take laudanum to reduce pain and anxiety, and to help them sleep. Word Originmid 16th cent. (applied to various preparations containing opium): modern Latin, the name given by Paracelsus to a costly medicament of which opium was believed to be the active ingredient; perhaps a variant of Latin ladanum from Greek ladanon, lēdanon, from lēdon ‘mastic’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: laudanum