• Tobacco


    • US IPA: /təˈbækoʊ/
    • Rhymes: -ækəʊ


    Attested since 1588, a loan from Spanish tabaco. The Spanish word is either from Arabic طباق (ṭabāq, ṭubāq, "a type of medicinal herb")

    or from a Taino word meaning "roll of tobacco leaves"

    Las Casas, 1552 (supports the gloss "roll of tobacco leaves")

    or "a pipe for smoking tobacco".

    Oviedo, 1535 (supports the gloss "pipe for smoking")

    The term is thus either an Old World term (of Arabic origin) applied to a New World plant, or a New World word.

    Online Etymology Dictionary

    Full definition of tobacco



    (countable and uncountable; plural tobaccos)
    1. (uncountable) Any plant of the genus Nicotiana.
    2. (uncountable) Leaves of Nicotiana tabacum and some other species cultivated and harvested to make cigarettes, cigars, snuff, for smoking in pipes or for chewing.
      • 2013-09-07, Unlucky strike, Tobacco-settlement bonds are a tribute both to the inventiveness of bankers and the childlike impatience of politicians.
    3. (countable) A variety of tobacco.
      Tobaccos from the Connecticut Valley were used for wrapping cigars.
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