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

The investigation revealed Moore was bringing drugs, tobacco and lighters into the detention center for inmates, according to the sheriff’s office. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "A NC detention officer smuggled weed and other drugs for inmates, officials say," 12 July 2018 Morse doesn't see it as a vice industry like alcohol, tobacco or gambling. CBS News, "Holyoke, Massachusetts, is ready to welcome the marijuana industry with open arms," 30 June 2018 His grandmother, Mary Zamary, started as a factory worker but later owned her own business, a tobacco and candy store. Daniela Altimari,, "Temperamental? Thin-Skinned? Republican Tim Herbst Says He's 'Authentic'," 28 June 2018 The retaliatory tariffs, which also included such typical U.S. products as orange juice, cigarettes, chewing tobacco and peanut butter, seemed aimed at putting pressure on such politically sensitive groups as farmers. Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY, "EU slaps stiff tariffs on U.S. jeans, motorcycles, bourbon in rebuff to Trump trade policy," 22 June 2018 Her client list had included insurers, police associations, tobacco and health care companies, the No Casinos anti-gambling group, developers and Disney. Dan Sweeney,, "Florida Cabinet races will feature three Broward candidates," 22 June 2018 Tomatoes are members of the same family as nightshade, tobacco and Brunfelsia. Kenneth Setzer, miamiherald, "Some of South Florida's most popular plants may be toxic to pets," 14 June 2018 The Tobacco Commission was created nearly 20 years ago to spend Virginia’s portion of the national tobacco settlement. Washington Post, "Riverdale, Md., man’s death ruled a homicide," 27 May 2018 Each of the counties hope to get some compensation for the indirect costs of opioid use — like the tobacco settlements years ago that continue to generate funds for Idaho and other states. Audrey Dutton, idahostatesman, "Idaho counties are suing Big Pharma for enabling opioid abuse | Idaho Statesman," 15 Apr. 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

12 Sep 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).


the setting in which something occurs

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