Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Word of the Week: Soporific

Welcome back to...

This week's word is Soporific.

sop·o·rif·ic (ˌsäpəˈrifik)
adjective - Tending to induce drowsiness or sleep; sleepy or drowsy; tediously boring or monotonous.
noun - a drug or other agent that induces sleep.
Some synonyms: sedative, somnolent, calmative

Used in a sentence:

"I hope readers won't find this post soporific," said Mrs. M.

Most recently seen or heard in:

"A Mixed Threesome" from Golf Without Tears by P.G. Wodehouse (you can read the story online here)

Why I like this word:

1. It's beautifully onomatopoeic (which is a fancy way of saying that it sounds like what it means). Say it slowly to yourself a few times over, and see if it doesn't set you nodding - especially when combined with a few of its synonyms. Sedative, somnolent, soporific. Sedative, somnolent, soporific. Your eyes are closing. You're getting sleepy ... very sleepy.

(There's something about that initial "s"- so soft, so seductive.)

2. Spelt a bit differently, it would make a lovely name for a retro laundry detergent. Can't you just see the breathless ads?
Tired of finding gray soap scum on your laundry? Don't use soap, use Soap-o-Riffic! Soap-o-Riffic's special ingredients will make your whites whiter and your brights brighter. Terrific for wool, terrific for silk, terrific for cotton and nylon too! For all your laundry needs, remember - It's not soap, it's Soap-o-Riffic!
(Amazing how those exclamation points dispel the drowsy effect.)

A confession:

I always thought this word was pronounced sō - porific (which explains the little advertising fantasy above). If only it were used more in everyday conversation I might have had a clue.

Soporific. (Yawn.)

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What's your favourite soporific?

(Mine is mental arithmetic, with government documents running a strong second. Either of these will send me right off to sleep.)

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  1. Having fun with words! It is fascinating stuff to be sure! I like your ad for "Soap-o-riffic"! I also love the word: 'onomatopoeic'. We talked about that a fair deal at school in the English literature class!

  2. soporific:
    in a queue
    for my husband to be back from office
    for some work to be done by others
    for my laptop to load...
    What a beautiful word, Mrs. Micawber! So whenever something makes me sleepy I will say it not be so soporific... :)

  3. Hey Sue I love this word and it always makes me think of Peter Rabbit. Once he ate so many lettuces they had a soporific effect on him ( not at home to check but I think that's how the story went!)
    Another great 'word' post . I find a number of things have this effect on me,......I start yawning and my eyes grow heavy, hmmm,......zzzzzzz....

    Claire x

  4. Wish I had taught my 11th graders this vocabulary word. They thought my English class was soooooo boooring, but they were soporific! ;)))) Linda

  5. I love the word. Gosh English has so many poetic words (and since I do not speak English as a first language I find it all very intrigueing).
    Soporific, hmm, I find grading so enormously soporific!

  6. Another great word Sue and yes you are quite right just saying it makes you feel drowsy, I'm so glad you put the soap advert in there because I really could feel my eye lids drooping. I find waiting for anything be it Doctor's waiting rooms, buses, taxi's, exceedingly soporific. :)

  7. All that daylight savings time makes me so incredibly soporific...

  8. Hello Sue, when I read I get very soporific...and like brownie says with the switch to daylight saving times it makes me very soporific way early... Have a great week. Hugs judy

  9. Anything to do with numbers is soporific to me, if I don't tune them out they put me to sleep.

  10. The fragrance of lavender make me very, very soporific. I love and use this word!! So few do.

  11. Hi Sue! I have been enjoying your Word of the Week posts! "Sedative, somnolent, soporific. Sedative, somnolent, soporific." I'm going to try that little sleep mantra the next time I'm having trouble sleeping! Many times I've felt like a "plant murderer," but you're the first person I've heard give voice to that thought. I used to spend time at Huntington Beach when I lived in California a long time ago. It's been my experience everywhere that surfers hang out all day on their boards. They make me think of seals! Have a good one, Sue! It's been fun catching up on your blogs!

  12. Since I've been having troubles with insomnia, I would LOVE to find a good soporific. ZZZQuil just ain't cuttin' it. LOL

  13. Gosh, it must have been a while since I was last on the internet. This was the post in my reader, and now you've had two more! How does time fly to speedily??? Oh, I know, it has not one drop of soporific in its wings...

    I believe my work sometimes makes me soporific...


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