aga·​ve | \ ə-ˈgä-vē How to pronounce agave (audio) \

Definition of agave

: any of a genus (Agave of the family Agavaceae, the agave family) of plants having spiny-margined leaves and flowers in tall spreading panicles and including some cultivated for their fiber or sap or for ornament

Illustration of agave

Illustration of agave

Examples of agave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Los Nahuales Mezcal Reposado Owned by Jaimé and Gustavo Muñoz, identical twins, and proprietors of five restaurants in Mexico, the renowned Los Nahaules (known by Los Danzantes in the U.S.) is made with agave Espadin in Santiago. Anna Tingley, Variety, 8 Sep. 2021 The bar now adds some agave syrup and a little Tajin (a Mexican brand of chili-lime salt) for flavor and texture. Washington Post, 27 July 2021 Some producers add agave syrup to their Cristalino to enhance the sweetness and smoothness. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 4 May 2021 This summer in South Florida, picture yourself lounging in the clouds, hoisting an agave tequila cocktail in the cool shade of a pool cabana. Phillip Valys,, 11 Aug. 2021 The Skinny Margarita is mixed with Patron silver tequila, lime, agave and soda. Brandi Addison, Dallas News, 21 July 2021 The agave used to make the Tequila is grown on the family’s ancestral estate in the Jalisco Highlands. Joseph V Micallef, Forbes, 30 June 2021 The agave is steamed for 20 to 32 hours and rested for up to 18 hours. Narda Pérez, Dallas News, 4 May 2021 The plans are to install a large, square bar filled with different agave spirits from all over Mexico. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 23 June 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agave.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of agave

1760, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agave

borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Greek agauḗ, feminine of agauós "admirable, illustrious, brilliant," of uncertain origin

Note: First distinguished as a genus separate from aloe by Linnaeus in Hortus Upsaliensis v. 1 (Stockholm, 1748), p. 87-88: "The African and Asian [species of aloe], naturally of pharmacological use and known for a longer time, would retain their everyday pharmacological name; another name should be conferred on these [species of Agave], and since among the synonyms nothing worthy presents itself, and an ancient name may be applied to an ancient genus, thereby I have called it Agave as it is an admirable plant" ("Africanae & Asiaticae utpote officinales, diutius notae retineant nomen officinale & usitatissimum; aliud his imponatur, inter synonyma nullum dignum occur[r]it, licet antiquo generi antiquum nomen competeret, ideoque dixi Agave quasi plantam admirabilem."). The non-Latinization of final eta may have been motivated by the various mythological personages named Agave in Latin versions of Greek tales. The etymology of Greek agauós is uncertain; a connection with agánai/ágamai, "wonder at, admire," is plausible semantically, but the internal upsilon seems justified neither by the root nor by ordinary derivation.

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agave cactus

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Last Updated

15 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Agave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for agave


aga·​ve | \ ə-ˈgä-vē How to pronounce agave (audio) \

Kids Definition of agave

: a plant that has sword-shaped leaves with spiny edges and is sometimes grown for its large stalks of flowers


aga·​ve | \ ə-ˈgäv-ē How to pronounce agave (audio) \

Medical Definition of agave

1 capitalized : a genus of plants (family Agavaceae) that are native to tropical America and to the southwestern United States, have spiny-margined leaves in basal rosettes and tall spikes of flowers, and include some that are cultivated for their fiber or sap or for ornament
2 : a plant (as the century plant) of the genus Agave


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