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

Same-store pharmacy sales increased 6%, while comparable retail sales were down 1.1% primarily due to the continued de-emphasis of tobacco. Aisha Al-muslim, WSJ, "Walgreens Profit Squeezed by Generic Drugs," 27 June 2019 River Forest’s village code, however, prohibits the use and possession of tobacco by persons younger than 18. Steve Schering,, "River Forest closes ‘loophole’ in raising tobacco purchase, possession ages to 21," 26 June 2019 Through Labor Day weekend, Cove Beach will occupy the Venus Pool area at the Strip resort, complete with shisha (hookah) water pipes and 18 flavors of tobacco. Jay Jones,, "Las Vegas: 5 things you can do in summer," 21 June 2019 Jerry Hill of San Mateo and Steve Glazer of Orinda pulled a measure to ban the sale of flavored tobacco after lawmakers significantly weakened it. Alexei Koseff,, "California’s biggest problems: Legislature keeps some bills alive, kills others," 6 June 2019 Beverly Hills just passed a law banning the sale of tobacco within the city limits. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc column: MLB netting issue isn’t a simple one," 5 June 2019 McConnell’s home state of Kentucky is the second highest producer of tobacco in the United States. Andrew Hirschfeld, Fortune, "As States Like Texas Move to Ban Tobacco Sales To Anyone Under 21, Retailers are Adapting Too," 1 Sep. 2018 According to Till, teen tobacco usage in Vermont is higher than the national average. Sophie Sherry And Christina Zdanowicz, CNN, "Sorry, Vermont vapers. E-cigarettes are about to get a lot more expensive," 28 June 2019 Switzerland, which is not an EU member, allows cannabis light with up to 1 percent THC to be sold like tobacco. Colleen Barry,, "Italy’s ‘cannabis light’ creates buzz even if the pot won’t," 27 June 2019

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

Statistics for tobacco

Last Updated

18 Jul 2019

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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 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

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


something desired as essential

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