qui·​nine ˈkwī-ˌnīn How to pronounce quinine (audio)
ˈkwi- How to pronounce quinine (audio)
 or  kwi-ˈnīn,
 or  ki-ˈnēn,
 or  kwi-ˈnēn
: a bitter crystalline alkaloid C20H24N2O2 from cinchona bark used in medicine
: a salt of quinine used especially as an antipyretic, antimalarial, and bitter tonic

Examples of quinine in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At one time, quinine was sold over the counter for cramps. Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 Subsequently, the agency has prohibited doctors from prescribing quinine for anything other than malaria. Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 If taken during pregnancy, quinine sometimes causes birth defects. Joe Graedon and Teresa Graedon, oregonlive, 4 Sep. 2023 People tried to ameliorate M.S. with leeches, quinine, foxglove, tobacco, hemlock, valerian, coffee, tea, being suspended above the ground, vertically, for four minutes at a time, and being wrapped in sheets sprayed with cold water. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 17 July 2023 James Pimm, a farmer's son who owned an oyster bar in 19th-century London, created and offered his guests this secret mix of gin, quinine, and a spice blend as a tonic to aid digestion. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, 29 June 2023 Today, governments and philanthropists spend billions of dollars annually on bed nets, insecticides and a medicine called quinine to prevent infection and blunt malarial fever and other symptoms. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2023 The book is propelled by colorful characters and interesting tidbits, like the Centers for Disease Control's original name, the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas, and the fact that tonic water no longer has enough quinine in it to keep you malaria free. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 13 Aug. 2021 That changed when quinine was discovered to help prevent death from malaria. Travis Loller, Fortune Well, 18 Apr. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Spanish quina cinchona, from Quechua kina bark

First Known Use

1825, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of quinine was in 1825

Dictionary Entries Near quinine

Cite this Entry

“Quinine.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quinine. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


qui·​nine ˈkwī-ˌnīn How to pronounce quinine (audio)
 also  ˈkwin-ˌīn
: a bitter white drug obtained from cinchona bark and used especially to treat malaria

Medical Definition


ˈkwī-ˌnīn also ˈkwin-ˌīn, especially British kwin-ˈēn, ˈkwin-ēn
: a bitter crystalline alkaloid C20H24N2O2 obtained from cinchona bark that is used as a flavoring agent, has antipyretic and analgesic properties, and is administered orally in the form of its salts (as the hydrated sulfate (C20H24N2O2)2·H2SO4·2H2O) as an antimalarial

More from Merriam-Webster on quinine

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