to·​bac·​co | \ tə-ˈba-(ˌ)kō How to pronounce tobacco (audio) \
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 The legislation, Senate Bill 375, also would raise the age to buy tobacco and vaping products from 18 to 21. Mark Niesse, ajc, "Vaping tax advances as tobacco tax stalls in Georgia House," 26 June 2020 This is a luscious, sweet-ripe California red that combines in-your-face fruit with a bit of smoky tobacco complexity. Dave Mcintyre, Washington Post, "Summer sipping doesn’t get much better than these five wines under $20," 26 June 2020 There will be no spitting or chewing tobacco, and teams must avoid high-fives, fist bumps, hugs and other celebratory actions. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "2020 MLB season: Detroit Tigers' roster size, trade deadline, rules for 60-game sprint," 24 June 2020 Also, there will be no spitting, chewing tobacco or celebratory contact such as high fives, fist bumps or hugs in 2020. NBC News, "It's a whole new ballgame: America's pastime will have a strange look in 2020," 24 June 2020 Texas tempranillos, such as this one, enhance the peppery and tobacco flavors in barbecue. Tina Danze, Dallas News, "6 Texas wines to drink with barbecue," 24 June 2020 Ads can be correlated with the use of tobacco products and electronic cigarettes, as well as alcohol and marijuana. Ryan Prior, CNN, "Physicians group calls for legislation to regulate digital advertising and its effect on kids," 23 June 2020 The southern colonies were happy to provide raw goods to fuel British manufacturing: cotton, lumber and indigo, along with tobacco, rice and sugar. Phillip Goodrich, Time, "As Confederate Statues Come Down, It's Worth Remembering That the Civil War Wasn't the Only American Conflict Involving Slavery," 22 June 2020 The warehouse was reportedly a former tobacco processing facility, and Cooper said demolition work on the building had began in early June. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville firefighters battle 'heavy' blaze at vacant warehouse in Russell neighborhood," 19 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for tobacco

Time Traveler

The first known use of tobacco was circa 1565

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Statistics for tobacco

Last Updated

1 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Tobacco.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for tobacco


How to pronounce tobacco (audio)

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 How to pronounce tobacco (audio) \
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 How to pronounce tobacco (audio) \
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

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