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

  • noun A colorless, poisonous alkaloid, C10H14N2, derived from the tobacco plant and used as an insecticide. It is the substance in tobacco to which smokers can become addicted.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A volatile alkaloid base (C10H14N2) obtained from tobacco.

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

  • noun (Chem.) An alkaloid which is the active principle of tobacco (C10H14N2). It occurs in tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana rusticum) to the extent of 2 to 8%, in combination with malic acid or citric acid. It is a colorless, transparent, oily liquid, having an acrid odor, and an acrid burning taste. It is intensely poisonous. The apparently addictive effects of tobacco smoking have been ascribed largely to the effect of nicotine, and the controlled administration of nicotine on various forms has been used as a technique for assisting efforts to stop the smoking habit.

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

  • noun chemistry An alkaloid (C10H14N2), commonly occurring in the tobacco plant. In small doses it is a habit-forming stimulant; in larger doses it is toxic and is often used in insecticides.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an alkaloid poison that occurs in tobacco; used in medicine and as an insecticide


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

[French, from New Latin nicotiāna; see nicotiana.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Borrowing from French nicotine, named after Jean Nicot, French ambassador to Portugal, who sent tobacco seeds back to France in 1561.


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  • The vast majority of smokers start in childhood and then find it very difficult to quit because nicotine is addictive.

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