Definition of nutmeg
1 : an aromatic seed produced by an evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans of the family Myristicaceae, the nutmeg family) native to the Moluccas; also : the ground seed used as a spice — compare mace 2
2 : a tree yielding nutmeg
nutmeg was our Word of the Day on 10/08/2011. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
Nutmeg is native to the Moluccas, Indonesian islands in the Malay Archipelago of Southeast Asia. The word nutmeg, however, comes from Old Occitan, a Romance language spoken in southern France during the latter half of the Middle Ages. Old Occitan "noz muscada" combines "noz" ("nut"), from Latin nuc-, nux, with "muscada," a feminine form of muscat, meaning "musky." The history of "muscat" can in turn be traced back through Late Latin, Greek, and Middle Persian to a Sanskrit word meaning "mouse."
Origin and Etymology of nutmeg
Middle English notemigge, notemuge, ultimately from Old Occitan noz muscada, from noz nut (from Latin nuc-, nux) + muscada, feminine of muscat musky — more at muscat
First Known Use: 15th century
NUTMEG Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of nutmeg for English Language Learners
: a spice made from the hard seed of a tropical tree and used in cooking and baking
NUTMEG Defined for Kids
Definition of nutmeg for Students
: a spice made from the ground seeds of a small tropical evergreen tree
Medical Definition of nutmeg
1: an aromatic seed that is used as a spice and is produced by a tree of the genus Myristica (M. fragrans of the family Myristicaceae, the nutmeg family) native to the Moluccas—called also myristica
2: a tree that produces nutmegs
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