aga·​ve | \ə-ˈgä-vē \

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

The base of the cocktail is tequila blanco (the clear stuff that tastes like sharp, vegetal agave, not old wooden barrels). Alex Delany, Bon Appetit, "The Siesta Is Your New Signature Spring Cocktail, a Normal Thing to Have," 2 May 2018 The most obvious one is agricultural: since agave producers have to guess what the demand will be for their plants seven or so years in advance, producers haven’t been able to keep up with the uptick in demand, Reuters reported in January. Elizabeth Lopatto, The Verge, "Elon Musk’s Teslaquila is actually a good idea," 19 Oct. 2018 Strawberries, dried fruit, a squeeze of honey or agave syrup can help add pleasant sweet notes to your greens. Natalie B. Compton, GQ, "How to Make Your Store-Bought Lunch Salad a Little Less Depressing," 19 June 2018 Songbird Coffee & Tea House Located in an old house in downtown Phoenix, this cute cafe is known for its pour over coffee, cold brew on tap, espresso seltzer (espresso, agave syrup and seltzer water), and a wide variety of loose-leaf teas. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "Where to get your caffeine fix in Phoenix when Starbucks stores close on May 29," 28 May 2018 There are 11 signature cocktails including: Old Southern: Añejo tequila, smoked agave, bitters. Kellie Hwang, azcentral, "New in Tempe: Rafter Room lounge opens on second floor of Social Hall," 22 June 2018 Savah says the Classic ($8), made with El Jimador Silver, triple sec, fresh lime juice and simple syrup, is the best-selling margarita on the menu, followed by the $14 per glass Cabo, made of Cabo Wabo Reposado, Grand Marnier, lime juice and agave. Sharon Dargay, Detroit Free Press, "Restaurant is serving $100 margaritas in take-home Baccarat crystal glasses," 1 May 2018 This summer specialty is made with Zapopan silver tequila, gran gala orange liqueur, lime juice and agave nectar. Shelbie Lynn Bostedt, RedEye Chicago, "Where to find your new favorite margarita in Chicago," 4 May 2017 Therefore, all tequila is technically mezcal, but only mezcals that are made to certain specifications — and with a specific agave plant — can call itself tequila. Fox News, "The origins of tequila: A shortage of rum and some thirsty conquistadors," 4 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near agave


à gauche



agave cactus



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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of agave was in 1760

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More Definitions for agave


aga·​ve | \ə-ˈgä-vē \

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 \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on agave

Spanish Central: Translation of agave

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