nicotine (n.) Look up nicotine at
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 (see Nicholas).