gateway drug


Definition of 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 the argument for prohibition makes even less sense if Juul serves as a gateway drug and gets kids hooked on nicotine. James P. Sutton, National Review, "San Francisco’s Vaping Ban Threatens to Push Teens Back Toward Cigarettes," 4 July 2019 For readers with a budding interest in economics, other tomes will prove a more effective gateway drug. The Economist, "What the music industry reveals about economics," 21 June 2019 The tender white fish is like a gateway drug to cooking with other types of fish. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "19 Simple and Delicious Ways to Cook With Tilapia," 18 Sep. 2018 Even as users sue the manufacturer for getting them hooked on nicotine, vapes are increasingly the gateway drug of choice. Angela Chen, The Verge, "Teens are turning away from cigarettes and alcohol and toward vaping," 17 Dec. 2018 My wife thinks the experience will be my gateway drug. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "Bear With Me? Get It Away!," 26 July 2018 But in the movie, that act is merely a gateway drug to the full-on loopiness that follows. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, "Sorry to Bother You Is a Dystopian Send-Up of Dystopias," 13 July 2018 This is gateway drug comedy, low commitment and easygoing. Rebecca Farley,, "Your Handy Guide To Netflix's Newest Most Bingeable Show," 3 July 2018 This is a miss to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who last year called marijuana a gateway drug. Fox News, "Trump escalates trade war tensions with tariff threat," 24 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gateway drug.' 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 gateway drug

1981, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for gateway drug

Last Updated

20 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for gateway drug

The first known use of gateway drug was in 1981

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More Definitions for gateway drug

gateway drug


English Language Learners Definition of gateway drug

: a drug (such as alcohol or marijuana) that is thought to lead to the use of more dangerous drugs (such as cocaine or heroin)

gateway drug

gate·​way drug | \ ˈgāt-ˌwā- How to pronounce gateway drug (audio) \

Medical Definition of gateway drug

: 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, 9 June 1999

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Comments on gateway drug

What made you want to look up gateway drug? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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