Origin of dope

1840–50; 1885–90 for def 4; 1900–05 for def 7; < Dutch doop (dial.) sauce, derivative of dopen to dip1
Related formsun·doped, adjective

Regional variation note

9. See soda pop.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dope

Contemporary Examples of dope

Historical Examples of dope

British Dictionary definitions for dope



any of a number of preparations made by dissolving cellulose derivatives in a volatile solvent, applied to fabric in order to improve strength, tautness, etc
an additive used to improve the properties of something, such as an antiknock compound added to petrol
a thick liquid, such as a lubricant, applied to a surface
a combustible absorbent material, such as sawdust or wood pulp, used to hold the nitroglycerine in dynamite
  1. any illegal drug, usually cannabis
  2. (as modifier)a dope fiend
a drug administered to a racehorse or greyhound to affect its performance
informal a person considered to be stupid or slow-witted
informal news or facts, esp confidential information
US and Canadian informal a photographic developing solution

verb (tr)

electronics to add impurities to (a semiconductor) in order to produce or modify its properties
to apply or add a dopant to
to administer a drug to (oneself or another)
(intr) to take dope


slang, mainly US excellent

Word Origin for dope

C19: from Dutch doop sauce, from doopen to dip
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for dope

1807, American English, "sauce, gravy, thick liquid," from Dutch doop "thick dipping sauce," from doopen "to dip" (cf. dip (v.)). Extension to "drug" is 1889, from practice of smoking semi-liquid opium preparation. Meaning "foolish, stupid person" is older (1851) and may have a sense of "thick-headed." Sense of "inside information" (1901) may come from knowing before the race which horse had been drugged to influence performance. Dope-fiend is attested from 1896.


1889, from dope (n.). Related: Doped; doping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dope in Medicine




A narcotic, especially an addictive narcotic.
An illicit drug, especially marijuana.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.