gateway drug


: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug (such as cocaine or heroin)

Examples of gateway drug in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But in fashion — using Vivienne Westwood as his gateway drug — Valencia found it all: history, politics, nature, curiosity and, ultimately, freedom. Julissa James, Los Angeles Times, 22 Apr. 2024 The Grateful Dead is like a gateway drug for a lot of young people now to get into bluegrass and that kind of thing. Chris Willman, Variety, 26 Mar. 2024 Pry Bar/Crow Bar Craftsman Pry Bar My gateway drug to the prepper life was the above pry bar. Meredith Woerner, Variety, 5 Apr. 2024 The perfect gateway drug to historical romance, MacLean delivers fierce, feminist, fresh takes year after year. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 19 Dec. 2023 Elder proved a perfect introduction to the Tool show Elder's opening set was a perfect gateway drug to Tool, setting the tone with a three-song performance that lasted nearly 30 minutes. Ed Masley, The Arizona Republic, 10 Feb. 2024 Ironically, the gateway drug was not a commercial film title but a fitness regimen, Jane Fonda’s Workout. Thomas Doherty, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Apr. 2023 So the Stones were my gateway drug to all these incredible things. Chris Willman, Variety, 22 Dec. 2023 Further Reading Have a Good Trip is a gateway drug to de-stigmatizing psychedelics Personal tragedy struck in 2016. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 22 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gateway drug.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1981, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gateway drug was in 1981

Dictionary Entries Near gateway drug

Cite this Entry

“Gateway drug.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

gateway drug

: a drug (as marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on a harder drug that is more addictive and harmful to health

Medical Definition

gateway drug

gate·​way drug ˈgāt-ˌwā- How to pronounce gateway drug (audio)
: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) whose use is thought to lead to the use of and dependence on more dangerous, addicting substances (such as cocaine or heroin)
To end at the beginning, nicotine … is now considered a "gateway drug," as it commonly precedes and is comorbid with other substance use.Donald A. Henderson, The Journal of the American Medical Association
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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