use-icon

HOW TO USE THE DICTIONARY

Learn what the dictionary tells you about words.

Get Started Now!

Some compound words (like bus rapid transit, dog whistle, or identity theft) don’t appear on the drop-down list when you enter them into the search window. If a compound term doesn’t appear in the drop-down list, try entering the term into the search window and then hit the search button (instead of the “enter” key). Alternatively, begin searches for compound terms with a quotation mark.

use-icon

THE USAGE PANEL

The Usage Panel is a group of nearly 200 prominent scholars, creative writers, journalists, diplomats, and others in occupations requiring mastery of language. The Panelists are surveyed annually to gauge the acceptability of particular usages and grammatical constructions.

The Panelists

puzzle-icon

NEED HELP SOLVING A CROSSWORD PUZZLE?

Go to our Crossword Puzzle Solver and type in the letters that you know, and the Solver will produce a list of possible solutions.

open-icon

INTERESTED IN DICTIONARIES?

Check out the Dictionary Society of North America at http://www.dictionarysociety.com

open-icon

AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY APP

The new American Heritage Dictionary app is now available for iOS and Android.

scroll-icon

INDO-EUROPEAN & SEMITIC ROOTS APPENDICES

Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

Indo-European Roots

Semitic Roots

The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

open-icon

OPEN DICTIONARY PROJECT

Share your ideas for new words and new meanings of old words!

Start Sharing Now!

100-words-icon

See word lists from the best-selling 100 Words Series!

Find out more!

dope (dōp)
Share:
n.
1. Informal
a. A narcotic, especially an addictive narcotic.
b. Narcotics considered as a group.
c. An illicit drug, especially marijuana.
2. A narcotic preparation used to stimulate a racehorse.
3. Informal A stupid person; a dolt.
4. Informal Factual information, especially of a private nature.
5. Chemistry An absorbent or adsorbent material used in certain manufacturing processes, such as the nitroglycerin used in making dynamite.
6. A type of lacquer formerly used to protect, waterproof, and tauten the cloth surfaces of airplane wings.
7. Chiefly Southern US A carbonated soft drink containing an extract of the kola nut and other flavorings.
8. Lower Northern US Syrup or sweet sauce poured on ice cream.
v. doped, dop·ing, dopes
v.tr.
1. Informal
a. To administer a narcotic to: was doped up for the operation.
b. To add a narcotic to: They doped his drink before robbing him.
c. To administer a performance-enhancing substance to (an athlete).
d. To subject (an athlete) to blood doping.
2. Electronics To treat (a semiconductor) with a dopant.
v.intr.
Informal
1. To take narcotics or a performance-enhancing substance.
2. To engage in blood doping.
adj.
Slang
Excellent; outstanding.
Phrasal Verb:
dope out Informal
1. To discover or plan: "I just had to dope out a way to get there without getting caught" (Leslie Edgerton).
2. To solve or decipher: dope out a puzzle.

[Dutch doop, sauce, from doopen, to dip.]

doper n.

Word History: The word dope originated in American English and is a borrowing of the Dutch word doop, "sauce." (New York City was once a Dutch colony, New Amsterdam, and many words originally distinctive to American English, like boss and cookie, were borrowed from Dutch colonists in the region.) Throughout the 1800s, dope meant "gravy," and in the North Midland United States, particularly Ohio, dope is still heard as the term for a topping for ice cream, such as chocolate syrup or fruit sauce. Also in the 1800s, the meaning of dope was extended to include various medicinal mixtures or syrups, including the syrups from which soda-fountain drinks like Coca-Cola were prepared. A continuation of this usage survives in the South, particularly in South Carolina, where dope refers to the carbonated soft drink that elsewhere in the United States is called cola. Dope was especially used of those medicinal preparations that produced a stupefying effect, and it even became a slang term for the dark, molasses-like form of opium that was smoked in opium dens. The common modern meanings of dope, "a narcotic substance" and "narcotics considered as a group," developed from this use of the word.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

This website is best viewed in Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, or Safari. Some characters in pronunciations and etymologies cannot be displayed properly in Internet Explorer.