nec·​tar ˈnek-tər How to pronounce nectar (audio)
: the drink of the Greek and Roman gods
: something delicious to drink
: a beverage of fruit juice and pulp
apricot nectar
: a sweet liquid that is secreted by the nectaries of a plant and is the chief raw material of honey
nectarous adjective

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Nectar is often mentioned in conjunction with ambrosia, the food of the Greek and Roman gods. For centuries, English speakers have used ambrosia to refer to something with an extremely pleasing taste or smell, and nectar to refer to a delicious drink, especially a fruit juice. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, however, the powers of nectar and ambrosia far exceeded those of any earthly fare; consuming nectar and ambrosia gave the gods their immortality. In Greek, the literal meanings of ambrosia and nectar are "immortality" and "overcoming death," respectively. Nektar is believed to be a compound of Greek nek- (probably akin to Latin nec-, meaning "death") and -tar (probably akin to Sanksrit tarati, meaning "he overcomes or crosses over").

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Those temperatures, which could repeat Friday into Saturday, are cold enough to freeze the nectar in hummingbird feeders solid. oregonlive, 24 Feb. 2023 Don't worry about any visiting ants, which are not hurting the plant but only coming to sip the nectar. Terri Robertson, Country Living, 27 Jan. 2023 According to head blender Meghan Ireland and head of whiskey development Liz Rhoades, the Greek nectar used to season a barrel was similar to a concentrate, a non-barrel-aged syrup made from Greek figs. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 21 Oct. 2022 Another function of nectar can be to protect against pathogens, and in some plants, certain proteins have antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 10 Mar. 2023 In addition to milkweed, adult monarchs also love nectar-rich plants like lantana, rudbeckia, and yarrow. Savanna Bous, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 Feb. 2023 Not even Middle America could sip of The A-Team‘s nectar, and like the taste. Richard Hack, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 Jan. 2023 Hailing from the Southeastern U.S., this drought-tolerant member of the daisy family is a good nectar source for butterflies. Terri Robertson, Country Living, 27 June 2022 One approach could involve sweet-and-salty nectar, according to new research. Jennifer Ball, Discover Magazine, 19 Apr. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Latin, from Greek nektar

First Known Use

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of nectar was in 1555


Dictionary Entries Near nectar

Cite this Entry

“Nectar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


nec·​tar ˈnek-tər How to pronounce nectar (audio)
: the drink of the Greek and Roman gods
: a sweet liquid given off by plants and especially by the flowers and used by bees in making honey

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