agave

noun aga·ve \ ə-ˈgä-vē \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

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

Recent Examples of agave from the Web

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Illustration of agave

Origin and Etymology of 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 aloë by Linnaeus in Hortus Upsaliensis v. 1 (Stockholm, 1748), p. 87-88: "The African and Asian [species of aloë], 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.

Other Seed Plant Terms


AGAVE Defined for Kids

agave

noun aga·ve \ ə-ˈgä-vē \

Definition of agave for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

agave

noun aga·ve \ ə-ˈgäv-ē \

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

Illustration of agave


Learn More about agave

  1. Spanish Central: Translation of agave


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