to·bac·co | \tə-ˈba-(ˌ)kō \
plural tobaccos

Definition of tobacco 

1 : any of a genus (Nicotiana) of chiefly American plants of the nightshade family with viscid foliage and tubular flowers especially : a tall erect annual tropical American herb (N. tabacum) cultivated for its leaves

2 : the leaves of cultivated tobacco prepared for use in smoking or chewing or as snuff

3 : manufactured products of tobacco (such as cigars or cigarettes) also : smoking as a practice has sworn off tobacco

4 : a moderate brown

Illustration of tobacco

Illustration of tobacco

tobacco 1

Examples of tobacco in a Sentence

a farm that grows tobacco a state tax on tobacco

Recent Examples on the Web

University of Missouri-Kansas City became smoke- and tobacco-free a year later. Katy Bergen, kansascity, "Say goodbye to smoking, vaping or using tobacco anywhere at KU," 3 July 2018 That number doesn't include the other 40 or so places across Michigan that have tobacco-free beaches and parks. Caroline Blackmon, Detroit Free Press, "South Haven bans smoking at public beaches, parks," 3 July 2018 In a survey that the tobacco-free Truth Initiative conducted of 15-to-24-year-olds, a quarter of respondents recognized a Juul e-cigarette when shown a photo of the product. Washington Post, "Juuling: If you don’t know what it is, ask your kids," 10 May 2018 Vendors can't sell knives, plastic guns, Confederate flags, or tobacco products. Craig Hlavaty, Houston Chronicle, "Here's what you can and cannot buy at RodeoHouston," 12 Mar. 2018 Under Stokes' bill (H.B. 585), the existing Louisiana Responsible Vendor Program, which educates about responsibly serving alcohol and selling tobacco products, would be expanded to include human trafficking. Littice Bacon-blood,, "Monsanto donates land and $450,000 for a new 'linear park' in St. Charles Parish," 2 Mar. 2018 The bill also requires advertisements for medical cannabis to be regulated under the same federal standards for tobacco products. David Anderson, The Aegis, "No medical marijuana dispensaries in Harford yet, but two could be on the way," 1 Mar. 2018 The case was one of a number of lawsuits filed by cities, largely modeled using the same logic that led to massive payments from tobacco companies in the 1990s. Rob Nikolewski,, "Imperial Beach pushes forward with lawsuit against oil companies," 27 June 2018 Perhaps the biggest mystery of Cannes Lions is why a giant tobacco company is here. Claire Atkinson, NBC News, "Apple scores at Cannes Lions ad competition," 21 June 2018

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

circa 1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for tobacco

Spanish tabaco, probably from Taino, roll of tobacco leaves

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Dictionary Entries near tobacco





tobacco barn

tobacco beetle

tobacco box

Phrases Related to tobacco

chewing tobacco

Statistics for tobacco

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tobacco

The first known use of tobacco was circa 1565

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More Definitions for tobacco



English Language Learners Definition of tobacco

: a plant that produces leaves which are smoked in cigarettes, pipes, etc.

: the leaves of the tobacco plant used for smoking or chewing

: products (such as cigars or cigarettes) that are made from tobacco


to·bac·co | \tə-ˈba-kō \
plural tobaccos

Kids Definition of tobacco

: the usually large sticky leaves of a tall plant related to the potato that are dried and prepared for use in smoking or chewing or as snuff


to·bac·co | \tə-ˈbak-(ˌ)ō \
plural tobaccos

Medical Definition of tobacco 

1 : any plant of the genus Nicotiana especially : an annual South American herb (N. tabacum) cultivated for its leaves

2 : the leaves of cultivated tobacco prepared for use in smoking or chewing or as snuff

3 : manufactured products of tobacco also : the use of tobacco as a practice

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More from Merriam-Webster on tobacco

Spanish Central: Translation of tobacco

Nglish: Translation of tobacco for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on tobacco

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


lying above or upon

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