also nicotin, poisonous volatile alkaloid base found in tobacco leaves, 1819, from French nicotine, earlier nicotiane, from Modern Latin Nicotiana, the 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 from Lisbon to France 1561. His name is a diminutive of Nicolas (see Nicholas).
"pellagra-preventing vitamin in enriched bread," 1942, coined from first syllables of nicotinic acid (see nicotine) + chemical suffix -in (2). It was suggested by the American Medical Association as a more commercially viable name than nicotinic acid.
The new name was found to be necessary because some anti-tobacco groups warned against enriched bread because it would foster the cigarette habit. ["Cooperative Consumer," Feb. 28, 1942]