The early use of "dope" for illegal drugs

Predecessors: thick sauce; a goopy lubricant or varnish; molasses-like melted opium

Matt: If you can avoid the obvious wise-guy answer, can you tell me how drugs got to be called “dope”? — No Dope, La Jolla

We sure know our dope: early America, the Dutch word doop, a thick sauce; non-Dutch pronounced it “dope”; a thick-headed fool by 1850; a goopy lubricant or varnish by 1870; molasses-like melted opium, eventually drugs in general, 1890. We immediately started fixing horse races by doping, and If you got that information from a tipster, you got “the inside dope.”

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


Log in to comment

Skip Ad