Meaning of the opium of the people in English:

the opium of the people

phrase

(also the opium of the masses)
  • Something regarded as inducing a false and unrealistic sense of contentment among people.

    ‘In a way, the lottery has become, as Mr Marx would have said, ‘the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of heartless conditions, the opium of the people.’’
    • ‘Some papers are now part of the showbiz industry and for many, celebrity rather than religion is now the opium of the people.’
    • ‘It's almost like the opium of the people that Karl Marx was talking about a century ago.’
    • ‘Food has long been the opium of the masses.’
    • ‘Perhaps Tommy thinks mints are the opium of the masses but, seeing him there, Curran immediately withdrew the Polos and handed them back to Rosie.’
    • ‘Marx said that religion is the opium of the people.’
    • ‘Marx called religion the heart of a heartless world, the soul of a soulless condition, the opium of the people.’
    • ‘But in Bachelder's America, the corporation is king, entertainment is the opium of the masses and you are free to do exactly what you are told.’
    • ‘Football was viewed by a man whose business judgement is rarely wrong, as the opium of the masses and the quickest way to shift satellite dishes.’
    • ‘The well-known expression that religion is the opium of the people was made famous by Marx but was also used independently around the same time by the Christian reformer Charles Kingsley.’

    Origin

    Translating the German phrase Opium des Volks, used by Marx in reference to religion (1844).