Share this entry

cannabis Syllabification: can·na·bis
Pronunciation: /ˈkanəbəs/

Definition of cannabis in English:


1A tall plant with a stiff upright stem, divided serrated leaves, and glandular hairs. It is used to produce hemp fiber and as a psychotropic drug. Also called hemp, marijuana.
  • Cannabis sativa, family Cannabaceae (or Cannabidaceae): two subspecies (sometimes considered two species), C. s. sativa, which is chiefly used for hemp, and C. s. indica, from which the drug is usually obtained
Example sentences
  • They believe the factory had grown at least one full crop of cannabis plants.
  • When officers went to arrest her they found she was growing cannabis plants.
  • The plant, cannabis sativa, is native to Asia, but is now widely cultivated in Europe.
1.1A dried preparation of the flowering tops or other parts of this plant, or a resinous extract of it ( cannabis resin), used (generally illegally) as a psychotropic drug, chiefly in cigarettes.
Example sentences
  • They found drugs, including cocaine and cannabis resin, together with drugs equipment.
  • Heroin and cannabis resin with an estimated street value of £120,000 was seized by the Garda National Drugs Unit as part of Operation Jumbo.
  • Last March, cocaine, ecstasy and cannabis resin were found at Rear Cross on the Tipperary border, and at Hyde Road in Limerick.


From Latin, from Greek kannabis.

  • canvas from Late Middle English:

    You can smoke cannabis (late 18th century), or, more legally, make canvas out of its fibre. The versatile cannabis plant, also known as hemp (ultimately from the same root), gives its name to the fabric, as both come from Latin cannabis. To win a race or competition by a canvas is to win it very narrowly. The canvas here is the tapered front end of a racing boat, covered with canvas to keep water out. In the early16th century the verb canvass meant ‘to toss someone in a canvas sheet’, as a punishment or as part of a game. Other early meanings included ‘to beat’ and ‘to criticize severely’. This led on to the idea of discussing an issue, and then to proposing something for discussion. Finally, the word acquired the meaning ‘to seek support’, as in ‘to canvass for votes’ at an election.

Words that rhyme with cannabis

arabis • duchess • purchase

Definition of cannabis in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: iˈnäkyo͞oəs
not harmful or offensive