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  1. any thick liquid or pasty preparation, as a lubricant, used in preparing a surface.
  2. an absorbent material used to absorb and hold a liquid, as in the manufacture of dynamite.
  3. Aeronautics.
    1. any of various varnishlike products for coating a fabric, as of airplane wings, in order to make it waterproof, stronger, etc.
    2. a similar product used to coat the fabric of a balloon to reduce gas leakage.
  4. Slang.
    1. any narcotic or narcoticlike drug taken to induce euphoria or satisfy addiction.
    2. any illicit drug.
  5. Slang. a narcotic, usually a steroid, given to an athlete to unfairly boost performance in a competition.
  6. Slang. a narcotic preparation given surreptitiously to a horse to improve or retard its performance in a race.
  7. Slang. information, data, or news: What's the latest dope on the strike?
  8. Informal. a stupid or unresponsive person.
  9. Southern U.S. (chiefly South Atlantic States ). soda pop, especially cola-flavored.
  10. North Central U.S. (chiefly Ohio ). syrup used as a topping for ice cream.
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verb (used with object), doped, dop·ing.
  1. Slang. to affect with dope or drugs.
  2. Slang. to give a narcotic to (an athlete) to unfairly boost performance in a competition.
  3. to apply or treat with dope.
  4. Electronics. to add or treat (a pure semiconductor) with a dopant.
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verb (used without object), doped, dop·ing.
  1. Slang. to take drugs.
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Verb Phrases
  1. dope out, Slang.
    1. to figure out; calculate; devise: to dope out a plan.
    2. to deduce or infer from available information: to dope out a solution to a problem.
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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. 2018

Related Words for dope

idiot, narcotic, fool, ass, donkey, dunce, blockhead, simpleton, dimwit, dolt, opiate, stimulant, information, account, knowledge, tip, details, facts, info, load

Examples from the Web for dope

Contemporary Examples of dope

Historical Examples of dope

British Dictionary definitions for dope


  1. 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
  2. an additive used to improve the properties of something, such as an antiknock compound added to petrol
  3. a thick liquid, such as a lubricant, applied to a surface
  4. a combustible absorbent material, such as sawdust or wood pulp, used to hold the nitroglycerine in dynamite
  5. slang
    1. any illegal drug, usually cannabis
    2. (as modifier)a dope fiend
  6. a drug administered to a racehorse or greyhound to affect its performance
  7. informal a person considered to be stupid or slow-witted
  8. informal news or facts, esp confidential information
  9. US and Canadian informal a photographic developing solution
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verb (tr)
  1. electronics to add impurities to (a semiconductor) in order to produce or modify its properties
  2. to apply or add a dopant to
  3. to administer a drug to (oneself or another)
  4. (intr) to take dope
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  1. slang, mainly US excellent
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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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dope in Medicine


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