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 Made from 100% blue Weber (a Mexican agave plant often found in tequila), the tasting notes include mango, orange and lemon. Melissa Lee, USA TODAY, "Cheers! Here's how to get your alcohol delivered for less," 10 Sep. 2020 Unthirsty plants, such as sculptural agave, blue chalksticks, and wispy feather grass, were a priority given the area’s tendency toward drought. Miranda Crowell, Better Homes & Gardens, "Meet Our 2020 America's Best Front Yard Contest Winner," 1 Sep. 2020 Two agave cocktails, plus an ice cold bucket of Tecate, included. Holly Baumbach,, "51 Chicago-area restaurants offering Labor Day specials for dining in or carrying out," 31 Aug. 2020 The tonic water has bold flavors, balanced citrus, sugar, agave and quinine. Dallas News, "Hooked on tonics: How tonic water went from medicinal to trendy cocktail mixer," 28 Aug. 2020 Mezcal, made from cooked agave, is tested during fermentation by pouring and observing bubbles. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Mathematically Modeling the Mezcal-Making Process...For Science, We Promise," 9 July 2020 Choose a dishcloth or sponge made from recyclable materials such as paper and agave or a natural sea sponge. Natasha Bazika, House Beautiful, "Five Easy Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Kitchen," 1 July 2020 Hodgson perched beside the huge agave, which overlooks the canyon and a rapidly disappearing riparian forest about 20 miles southwest of Prescott. Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, "Gold mine along Hassayampa River may imperil tribal cultural, riparian sites," 7 July 2020 Lounge chairs have sprouted up in yards and driveways like propagating agave, and many of us have migrated from the penetralia of our backyards to porches and lawns. Maria Neuman, WSJ, "Why America Is Rediscovering the Social Front Yard," 6 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for agave

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The first known use of agave was in 1760

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Agave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Sep. 2020.

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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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