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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The agave plant is made from a combination of silk and plastic, giving it a realistic and healthy appearance that will require no maintenance and will last you all year round. Michelle Love, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 May 2023 Also, the agaves are primarily steam-roasted in ovens. Richard Carleton Hacker, Robb Report, 28 Apr. 2023 The Apricot Sidecar also contains this spirit, but with lemon and an apricot gomme syrup; then, the Ponche 1890 has 1615 Quebranta with lemon and a spiced pineapple agave. Michele Herrmann, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 In May, shortly after 818 was launched, Jenner faced backlash due to an advertisement depicting her riding a horse through an agave farm wearing braided pigtails before raising a glass of her liquor with native farmers. Naledi Ushe,, 16 Sep. 2021 And the Old Gold has tapatio blanco tequila, los siete misterios doba-yej, China liqeur, agave, and apple lime. Allyson Portee, Forbes, 2 May 2023 Designed to help your complexion, this cleanse features unique juices like Rose Glow with hemp seeds and rose hips or Spicy Lemonade with agave and cayenne, along with blue algae to help promote collagen production. Asonta Benetti, Peoplemag, 2 May 2023 Other celebs endorsing agave spirits include Toby Keith, Dwayne Johnson, Justin Timberlake, Carlos Santana, Sammy Hagar, Guy Fieri, Ryan Reynolds, Kate Hudson, Eva Longoria and George Clooney — to name a few. Dallas News, 2 Mar. 2023 This kit comes with caffeine-free tee and agave. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, 7 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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.

First Known Use

1760, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of agave was in 1760

Dictionary Entries Near agave

Cite this Entry

“Agave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Kids Definition


aga·​ve ə-ˈgäv-ē How to pronounce agave (audio)
: any of a genus of plants (as the century plant) that have spiny-edged leaves and flowers in tall branched clusters and include some cultivated for fiber or for ornament

Medical Definition


aga·​ve ə-ˈgäv-ē How to pronounce agave (audio)
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
: a plant (as the century plant) of the genus Agave
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