General English

General Science

  • noun a habit-forming, often illegal, substance


  • noun an illegal substance which can be harmful, especially if taken regularly
  • noun a medicine given by a doctor to treat a medical problem
  • verb to give a substance to someone or put it in their food or drink, especially secretly, to make them go to sleep or become unconscious


  • noun a natural or synthetic chemical substance which is used in medicine and affects the way in which organs or tissues function
  • noun a substance taken by choice which produces a strong effect on a person’s feelings and state of mind

Origin & History of “drug”

Drug is one of the mystery words of the language. It is clear that English acquired it from Old French drogue, but no one is certain where the French word came from. One suggestion is that it originated in Arabic dūrawā ‘chaff’; another, rather more likely, is that its source was Dutch droog ‘dry’, via either the phrase droge waere ‘dry goods’ or droge vate ‘dry barrels’, a common expression for ‘goods packed in barrels’. It has spread to many other European languages, including Italian and Spanish droga, German droge, and Swedish drog.