[nik-uh-teen, -tin, nik-uh-teen]

noun Chemistry.

a colorless, oily, water-soluble, highly toxic, liquid alkaloid, C10H14N2, found in tobacco and valued as an insecticide.

Origin of nicotine

From French, dating back to 1810–20; see origin at nicotiana, -ine2
Related formsnic·o·tined, adjectivenic·o·tine·less, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for nicotine



a colourless oily acrid toxic liquid that turns yellowish-brown in air and light: the principal alkaloid in tobacco, used as an agricultural insecticide. Formula: C 10 H 14 N 2
Derived Formsnicotined, adjectivenicotinic (ˌnɪkəˈtɪnɪk), adjective

Word Origin for nicotine

C19: from French, from New Latin herba nicotiana Nicot's plant, named after J. Nicot (1530–1600), French diplomat who introduced tobacco into France
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 nicotine

poisonous alkaloid found in tobacco leaves, 1819, from French nicotine, earlier nicotiane, from Modern Latin Nicotiana, formal botanical name for the tobacco plant, named for Jean Nicot (c.1530-1600), French ambassador to Portugal, who sent tobacco seeds and powdered leaves back to France 1561. His name is a diminutive of Nicolas.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nicotine in Medicine




A colorless, poisonous alkaloid derived from the tobacco plant and used as an insecticide. It is the substance in tobacco to which smokers can become addicted.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

nicotine in Science



A colorless, poisonous compound occurring naturally in the tobacco plant. It is used in medicine and as an insecticide, and it is the substance in tobacco products to which smokers can become addicted. Nicotine is an alkaloid. Chemical formula: C10H14N2.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

nicotine in Culture



A poisonous chemical substance found in the tobacco plant.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.