co·​caine | \ kō-ˈkān, ˈkō-ˌkān\

Definition of cocaine 

: a bitter crystalline alkaloid C17H21NO4 obtained from coca leaves that is used especially in the form of its hydrochloride medically as a topical anesthetic and illicitly for its euphoric effects and that may result in a compulsive psychological need

Examples of cocaine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

So if cocaine or heroin were cheaper and more accessible, there’s a good chance people would start with those drugs first. German Lopez, Vox, "Marijuana is a relatively safe drug — with some risks," 14 Nov. 2018 Maybe that’s because, to paraphrase Willie Sutton, cocaine is where the money is. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "A Phony Peace in Colombia," 23 Sep. 2018 Galveston Police Department authorities said the cocaine was packaged for transport and distribution. Jay R. Jordan, Houston Chronicle, "Galveston officers find 19 kilos of cocaine during traffic stop," 1 June 2018 Use of other illicit drugs — including cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, ecstasy and hallucinogens — did not change substantially in the past year, according to the survey results. Karen Kaplan, The Seattle Times, "Vaping among teens spikes, luring new generation of kids into tobacco use," 18 Dec. 2018 But marijuana addiction does not involve the same risks as addiction to more dangerous drugs, like cocaine, opiates, or even smoked tobacco. Aaron Rupar, Vox, "Fox News warns about THC gummies “ruining families” and “killing” Americans “every day.”," 3 Dec. 2018 Blum covers the case against Coca-Cola in depth; the popular beverage originally contained a fair amount of cocaine (as the name implies). Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "We have food safety laws thanks to 19th century “poison squad”," 26 Nov. 2018 Police seized two guns; about 150 grams, or 5.3 ounces, of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid; about 20 grams, or 0.7 of an ounce, of crack cocaine, and other narcotics, said Thomas Carson of the U.S. Attorney’s office. Christine Dempsey,, "Police: Two More Wanted Felons Nabbed In Hartford, Enfield, After Gang Roundup," 6 July 2018 Fifteen overdoses in West Philly over the weekend, linked to a combination of cocaine and fentanyl, has city officials on high alert. Ray Boyd,, "Children separated at border held in Pa., Malcolm Jenkins responds to Trump's pardon request | Morning Newsletter," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cocaine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cocaine

1860, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for cocaine

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for cocaine

The first known use of cocaine was in 1860

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More Definitions for cocaine



English Language Learners Definition of cocaine

: a powerful drug that is used in medicine to stop pain or is taken illegally for pleasure


co·​caine | \ kō-ˈkān \

Kids Definition of cocaine

: a habit-forming drug obtained from the leaves of a South American shrub and sometimes used as a medicine to deaden pain


co·​caine | \ kō-ˈkān, ˈkō-ˌ \

Medical Definition of cocaine 

: a bitter crystalline alkaloid C17H21NO4 obtained from coca leaves that is used medically especially in the form of its hydrochloride C17H21NO4·HCl as a topical anesthetic and illicitly for its euphoric effects and that may result in a compulsive psychological need

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More from Merriam-Webster on cocaine

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cocaine

Spanish Central: Translation of cocaine

Nglish: Translation of cocaine for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cocaine for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about cocaine

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