from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A narcotic, especially an addictive narcotic.
  • noun Narcotics considered as a group.
  • noun An illicit drug, especially marijuana.
  • noun A narcotic preparation used to stimulate a racehorse.
  • noun Informal A stupid person; a dolt.
  • noun Informal Factual information, especially of a private nature.
  • noun Chemistry An absorbent or adsorbent material used in certain manufacturing processes, such as the nitroglycerin used in making dynamite.
  • noun A type of lacquer formerly used to protect, waterproof, and tauten the cloth surfaces of airplane wings.
  • noun Chiefly Southern US A carbonated soft drink containing an extract of the kola nut and other flavorings.
  • noun Lower Northern US Syrup or sweet sauce poured on ice cream.
  • intransitive verb To administer a narcotic to.
  • intransitive verb To add a narcotic to.
  • intransitive verb To administer a performance-enhancing substance to (an athlete).
  • intransitive verb To subject (an athlete) to blood doping.
  • intransitive verb Electronics To treat (a semiconductor) with a dopant.
  • intransitive verb To take narcotics or a performance-enhancing substance.
  • intransitive verb To engage in blood doping.
  • adjective Excellent; outstanding.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To drug; stupefy with drugs, such as ‘knock-out drops’ (hydrate of chloral), or the like: as, to dope a race-horse.
  • To indulge habitually in the use of opium or other drugs either for the pleasurable sensations produced or as anesthetics.
  • noun Opium, especially the thick treacle-like preparation used in opium-smoking.
  • noun Any drug, such as opium, laudanum, morphine, cocaine, hydrate of chloral, hashish, etc., which has the property of inducing sleep or of stupefying; a narcotic.
  • noun A person under the influence of, or addicted to the use of, some dope.
  • noun Any thick liquid, as a thick sauce, thick gruel, or other semi-fluid or pasty thing for eating. Specifically
  • noun A thick pasty lubricant; specifically, axle-grease.
  • noun . Any absorbent material, as cotton-waste or sand, used to absorb and hold a lubricant or other liquid.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb Slang, Race-track Slang, Slang, Race-track Slang To treat or affect with dope;
  • transitive verb Slang, Race-track Slang, Race-track Slang To give stupefying drugs to; to drug.
  • transitive verb Race-track Slang To administer a stimulant to (a horse) to increase his speed. It is a serious offense against the laws of racing.
  • transitive verb Slang To judge or guess; to predict the result of, as by the aid of dope.
  • transitive verb to impregnate with a dopant.
  • noun Any thick liquid or pasty preparation, as of opium for medicinal purposes, of grease for a lubricant, etc.
  • noun Slang or Cant Any preparation, as of opium, used to stupefy or, in the case of a race horse, to stimulate.
  • noun An absorbent material; esp., in high explosives, the sawdust, infusorial earth, mica, etc., mixed with nitroglycerin to make a damp powder (dynamite, etc.) less dangerous to transport, and ordinarily explosive only by suitable fulminating caps.
  • noun Sporting Slang Information concerning the previous performances of race horses, or other facts concerning them which may be of assistance in judging of their chances of winning future races; similar information concerning other sports; by extension, any information not generally known, especially when coming from an inside source.
  • noun colloq. an ignorant or stupid person.
  • noun learn the true story; get the inside information.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun uncountable Any viscous liquid or paste, such as a lubricant, used in preparing a surface.
  • noun uncountable An absorbent material used to hold a liquid.
  • noun uncountable, aeronautics Any varnish used to coat a part, such as an airplane wing or a hot-air balloon in order to waterproof, strengthen, etc.
  • noun uncountable, slang Any narcotic or similar drug which produces euphoria or satisfies an addiction; particularly heroin, although amphetamine, methamphetamine,
  • noun uncountable, slang Any illicit & opioid drug.
  • noun uncountable, slang Information.
  • noun countable, slang A stupid person.
  • verb transitive, slang To affect with drugs.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Dutch doop, sauce, from doopen, to dip.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word dope.


  • Now "dope" is not a slang word, as you may be thinking, gentle reader.

    In Times Like These 1915

  • Sounds like this dope is literally at the end of his political rope.

    Sanford lashes out at the media 2009

  • He claimed that he must have time in which to steal the dope from the dispensary.

    Chapter 2 2010

  • Washed clean with bug-killin 'dope before we stitched.


  • Let's face it, anyone that hangs around schools selling dope is a maggot and deserves to be treated as such.

    Archive 2007-07-01 2007

  • You do your homework on them and make sure you have a good feel – Thorn traded away Eddie Griffin to get RJ & Collins, for example – but, geez, smoking dope is a real “character problem”?

    Matthew Yglesias » Yi 2007

  • The latest etiquette books say that smoking dope is proper and right if it's offered by an older family member.

    Director's Cut 2005

  • The latest etiquette books say that smoking dope is proper and right if it's offered by an older family member.

    Director's Cut 2005

  • The latest etiquette books say that smoking dope is proper and right if it's offered by an older family member.

    Director's Cut 2005

  • November 16th, 2005 at 9: 25 pm grandpa says: this true American dope is a microcephalic idiot, NO?

    Think Progress » “Bush Was Right!” — The New Hit Single Ready to Rock a Generation 2005


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • I love this word, but only as a noun.

    April 12, 2009

  • "Why do you think they call it dope?"

    Not because it makes you act like a dope. The word is derived from the Dutch word "doop," which means "thick dipping sauce." It originally referred to any thick, saucy liquid until the late 19th century, when it was used to refer to opium paste. So it's actually the other way around; stupid people are called dopes because they act like they're on dope.

    June 29, 2020