1. <botany> An American plant (Nicotiana Tabacum) of the Nightshade family, much used for smoking and chewing, and as snuff. As a medicine, it is narcotic, emetic, and cathartic. Tobacco has a strong, peculiar smell, and an acrid taste.

The name is extended to other species of the genus, and to some unrelated plants, as Indian tobacco (Nicotiana rustica, and also Lobelia inflata), mountain tobacco (Arnica montana), and Shiraz tobacco (Nicotiana Persica).

2. The leaves of the plant prepared for smoking, chewing, etc, by being dried, cured, and manufactured in various ways.

<chemistry> Tobacco box See Nicotianine. Tobacco man, a tobacconist. Tobacco pipe. A pipe used for smoking, made of baked clay, wood, or other material.

<botany> The larva of a large hawk moth (Sphinx, or Phlegethontius, Carolina). It is dark green, with seven oblique white stripes bordered above with dark brown on each side of the body. It feeds upon the leaves of tobacco and tomato plants, and is often very injurious to the tobacco crop.

Origin: Sp. Tabaco, fr. The Indian tabaco the tube or pipe in which the Indians or Caribbees smoked this plant. Some derive the word from Tabaco, a province of Yucatan, where it was said to be first found by the Spaniards; others from the island of Tobago, one of the Caribbees. But these derivations are very doubtful.

(01 Mar 1998)

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