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 But this changed that year, with an increase in tobacco use due exclusively to the use of e-cigarettes. Gabriel A. Silva, Forbes, 6 June 2021 Avoiding tobacco use is also important, according to Stefanski. Lisa Drayer, CNN, 1 June 2021 Illinois, like other states, says adulthood begins at 21 for alcohol and tobacco use, so the same age should be applied to criminal behavior, said Illinois Sen. Laura Fine, a Democrat. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA TODAY, 26 May 2021 Those with heart problems, asthma, emphysema, chronic lung disease, diabetes and tobacco use are also vulnerable. Arkansas Online, 20 Feb. 2021 The Food and Drug Administration plans to ban menthol in cigarettes and all flavors in cigars, a step the agency says will reduce tobacco use and curb preventable illnesses and deaths. Stephanie Ebbs, ABC News, 29 Apr. 2021 In Australia, researchers tied key health factors to socioeconomic and demographic conditions by linking sewage information on drug use, alcohol and tobacco use, diet, and more to census data. Miranda Weiss, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Apr. 2021 Cradle Cincinnati worked with community groups to address factors leading to extreme preterm birth, such as maternal obesity and tobacco use. Anne Saker, The Enquirer, 19 Apr. 2021 The council decision Tuesday included an agreement to tap tobacco-tax revenue to pay the settlements. Jeff Mcdonald, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Apr. 2021

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

8 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Tobacco.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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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 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

More from Merriam-Webster on tobacco

Nglish: Translation of tobacco for Spanish Speakers

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


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