no·​pal | \ nō-ˈpäl How to pronounce nopal (audio) , -ˈpal; ˈnō-pəl How to pronounce nopal (audio) \
plural nopals or nopales\ nō-​ˈpä-​lās How to pronounce nopal (audio) , -​ˈpa-​ \

Definition of nopal

1 : any of a genus (Nopalea) of cacti of Mexico and Central America that differ from the prickly pears in having erect petals and scarlet flowers with the stamens much longer than the petals broadly : prickly pear
2 : a fleshy young tender stem segment of the prickly pear cactus (especially Opuntia ficus-indica) or the nopal cactus used as food

Examples of nopal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Nopales soaked in unaged whiskey form the base for a lime cocktail that’s simultaneously light from the lime and nopal, and substantial from the whiskey. Dakota Kim, Sunset, 22 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'nopal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of nopal

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for nopal

Spanish, from Nahuatl nohpalli

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no pain, no gain



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Cite this Entry

“Nopal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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