cola (n.)

1795, genus of small evergreen trees native to west Africa, introduced and nativized in New World tropics, from a Latinized form of a West African name of the tree (compare Temne kola, Mandingo kolo). The cola-nut contains much caffeine.

Meaning "carbonated soft drink" is 1919, short for Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, and their many imitators. A 1900 publication ("Alcohol," by the Woman's Christian Temperance Union) lists the names of drinks found to contain caffeine and extract of coca leaf:

Afri Cola, Ala Cola, Cafe Coca, Carre Cola, Celery Cola, Chan Ola, Chera Cola, Coca Beta, Coca Cola, Pilsbury's Coke, Cola Coke, Cream Cola, Dope, Four Kola, Hayo Kola, Heck's Cola, Kaye Ola, Koca Nola, Koke, Kola Ade, Kola Kola, Kola Phos, Koloko, Kos Kola, Lime Cola, Lima Ola, Mellow Nip, Nerv Ola, Revive Ola, Rocola, Rye Ola, Standard Cola, Toka Tona, Tokola, Vim-O, French Wine of Coca, Wise Ola.

updated on June 26, 2018

Definitions of cola from WordNet
cola (n.)
carbonated drink flavored with extract from kola nuts (`dope' is a southernism in the United States);
Synonyms: dope
Cola (n.)
large genus of African trees bearing kola nuts;
Synonyms: genus Cola
Etymologies are not definitions. From, not affiliated with etymonline.