1580s, from Spanish tabaco, in part from an Arawakan language of the Caribbean (probably Taino), said to mean "a roll of tobacco leaves" (according to Las Casas, 1552) or "a kind of pipe for smoking tobacco" (according to Oviedo, 1535). Scholars of Caribbean languages lean toward Las Casas' explanation. The West Indian island of Tobago was said to have been named by Columbus in 1498 from Haitian tambaku "pipe," in reference to the native custom of smoking dried tobacco leaves [Room].
Cultivation in France began 1556 with an importation of seed by Andre Thevet; introduced in Spain 1558 by Francisco Fernandes. Tobacco Road as a mythical place representative of rural Southern U.S. poverty is from the title of Erskine Caldwell's 1932 novel. Early German and Portuguese accounts of Brazil also record another name for tobacco, bittin or betum, evidently a native word in South America, which made its way into 17c. Spanish, French, and English as petun, petumin, etc., and which is preserved in petunia and butun, the Breton word for "tobacco."
Many haue giuen it [tobacco] the name, Petum, whiche is in deede the proper name of the Hearbe, as they whiche haue traueiled that countrey can tell. [John Frampton, translation of Nicolás Monardes' "Joyful Newes Oute of the Newe Founde Worlde," 1577]
1819, from French tabagie (17c.), from tabac "tobacco" (see tobacco) + -age. A group of smokers who meet in club fashion; a "tobacco-parliament." In German, a Rauchkneipe.
genus of ornamental plants native to South America and Mexico, 1825, from Modern Latin Petunia (1789), from French petun (16c.), an obsolete word for "tobacco plant" (in Century Dictionary, 1890, "said to be still in use in some parts of Canada"), from Portuguese petum, evidently from Guarani (Paraguay) pety. The petunia has a botanical affinity to the tobacco plant. See tobacco.
"tobacco with an offensive odor," 1640s, from Spanish mondongo "paunch, tripe, intestines," related to modejo "paunch, belly (of a pig)."
"cigarette," slang, 1882, from smoke (n.1). Also "opium" (1884). The meaning "a spell of smoking tobacco" is recorded from 1835.
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).