noun Chemistry, Pharmacology.
- a white, crystalline, bitter alkaloid, C8H10N4O2, usually derived from coffee or tea: used in medicine chiefly as a nervous system stimulant.
- a white crystalline bitter alkaloid responsible for the stimulant action of tea, coffee, and cocoa: a constituent of many tonics and analgesics. Formula: C 8 H 10 N 4 O 2See also xanthine (def. 2)
trimethyl-derivative of xanthine, 1830, from German Kaffein, coined by chemist F.F. Runge (1795-1867), apparently from German Kaffee “coffee” (see coffee) + chemical suffix -ine (2) (German -in). The form of the English word may be via French caféine.
- A bitter white alkaloid often derived from tea or coffee and used chiefly as a mild stimulant and in the treatment of certain kinds of headache.
- A bitter white alkaloid found in tea leaves, coffee beans, and various other plant parts. It is a mild stimulant. Caffeine is a xanthine and similar in structure to theobromine and theophylline. Chemical formula: C8H10N4O2.