: a poisonous alkaloid C10H14N2 that is the chief active principle of tobacco and that is used as an insecticide
Biographical Note for NICOTINE
Ni·cot\nē-kō\ , Jean(1530?–1600), French diplomat. While French ambassador to Portugal, Nicot introduced tobacco to France by sending tobacco seeds as a gift to the French court in 1560. Linnaeus named the plant genus Nicotiana in his honor in 1753.
Principal alkaloid of tobacco, occurring throughout the plant but mostly in the leaves. It is a heterocyclic compound containing a pyridine ring; its chemical formula is CHN. Nicotine is the chief addictive ingredient (seedrug addiction) in cigarettes and cigars and in snuff. It has a unique biphasic effect: inhaled in short puffs, it is a stimulant, but it can be a tranquilizer when inhaled slowly and deeply. In larger doses nicotine is a highly toxic poison, used as an insecticide, fumigant, and vermifuge.