sug·​ar | \ ˈshu̇-gər How to pronounce sugar (audio) \

Definition of sugar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods
b : any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness, include the monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, and typically are optically active
2 : a unit (such as a spoonful, cube, or lump) of sugar
3 : a sugar bowl


sugared; sugaring\ ˈshu̇-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce sugaring (audio) \

Definition of sugar (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make palatable or attractive : sweeten a story sugared with romance
2 : to sprinkle or mix with sugar

intransitive verb

1 : to form or be converted into sugar
2 : to become granular
3 : to make maple syrup or maple sugar

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Other Words from sugar


sugarless \ ˈshu̇-​gər-​ləs How to pronounce sugarless (audio) \ adjective

Examples of sugar in a Sentence


Would you pass the sugar, please? Do you take sugar in your coffee? Coffee with two sugars and milk, please.


The clean fruit is then dried and sugared. They've been sugaring since they were children.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This keeps the level of sugar in your blood within a normal range. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Why a ‘Sugar Hangover’ Can Feel as Terrible as the Real Thing," 27 Oct. 2018 Along with beau Alex Rodriguez, the singer is smack in the middle of a strict 10-day challenge, adhering to a low-carb, low-sugar diet—and just a quick glance at today's look shows the intense routine is paying off. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "Jennifer Lopez’s Killer Abs Are 2019 Workout Goals," 24 Jan. 2019 As a consequence, both blood-sugar levels and emotions start to balance out. Daisy Finer, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Golden Door Is the World's Most Iconic Spa," 21 Dec. 2018 Slowly whisk 1 cup warm cream mixture into yolk-sugar mixture on low speed; return to pot with cream mixture. Kate Merker And Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Gingerbread Eggnog," 11 Dec. 2018 Add yolks, one at a time, until incorporated into the butter-sugar mixture, followed by cane syrup and vanilla extract. Rebekah Denn, The Seattle Times, "Cane syrup, a Southern staple, makes its way to Seattle just in time for prime pecan-pie season," 20 Nov. 2018 Her 7-year-old daughter Ava has Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that causes the pancreas to stop producing insulin, a hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. Lisa Maria Garza,, "More than 1,200 people walk, run in Orlando to raise awareness of diabetes," 24 June 2018 Researchers found a substantial reduction in the blood-sugar marker HbA1c that is used to diagnose diabetes. Glenn Fleishman, Fortune, "Tuberculosis Vaccine Could Reverse Type 1 Diabetes, Study Shows," 21 June 2018 Same goes for a pile of ruddy, funky, life-affirming lamb tartare showered in Parmesan and violet chive blossoms with sweet curls of Asian pear, a soy-mirin-sugar confit egg yolk lurking in its midst waiting to disperse its rich unctuousness. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Andersonville’s Passerotto is a tale of two peninsulas," 21 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cake had an autumnal theme, complete with sugared ivy. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Princess Eugenie's Bridal Bouquet Included a Sweet Tribute to Her Kensington Palace Home, Ivy Cottage," 12 Oct. 2018 Avelar sat on a stool by her side, a sugared donut between her fingers. Alice Driver, Longreads, "The Road to Asylum," 30 June 2018 When ready to serve cheesecake, remove side of pan. Garnish with sugared cranberries. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Our Favorite Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe," 17 Mar. 2015 Admission, $15 adults, $10 children 3-12, provides breakfast, tour of sugaring operation, views of glassblowing, blacksmithing, pottery and spinning and weaving until 4 p.m. 2686 Oak Hill Road, Bath, 44210; 330-666-3711. Debbi Snook,, "Where to find real maple syrup pancake breakfasts and trips to the sugarbush (photos)," 7 Mar. 2018 The kids were thrilled and sugared up, filling baskets with chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs—and, for the first time in their lives, Peeps. Jason Gay, WSJ, "There’s No Such Thing as Free Baseball. Or is There?," 2 Apr. 2018 There was also a chance to meet and pet an assortment of donkeys and draft horses of the types historically used to transport maple sap across farmers' fields during sugaring season. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Taste Of Maple Draws A Crowd To Blue Slope," 21 Mar. 2018 The free event will teach tree biology and identification, why sap flows, tapping, collecting methods, sugarbush management, producing the finished product, canning and packaging, as well as local sugaring history., "How sweet is thy weekend, Valentine? Let me count three ways (photos)," 7 Feb. 2018 The possible impact of a meat tax could be similar to sugar taxes. Fortune, "Enjoy Your Cheap Burgers Now Because a 'Meat Tax' Could Be on the Way," 11 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sugar.' 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 sugar


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for sugar


Middle English sugre, sucre, from Anglo-French sucre, from Medieval Latin zuccarum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, ultimately from Sanskrit śarkarā; akin to Sanskrit śarkara pebble — more at crocodile

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Dictionary Entries near sugar





sugar ant

sugar apple

sugar ash

Statistics for sugar

Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sugar

The first known use of sugar was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for sugar



English Language Learners Definition of sugar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a sweet substance usually in the form of white or brown crystals or white powder that comes from plants and is used to make foods sweeter
: the amount of sugar in one spoonful, lump, packet, etc.
technical : any one of various substances that are found in plants and that your body uses or stores for energy



English Language Learners Definition of sugar (Entry 2 of 2)

: to put sugar on or in (something)
US : to make maple syrup or maple sugar by boiling sap from maple trees


sug·​ar | \ ˈshu̇-gər How to pronounce sugar (audio) \

Kids Definition of sugar

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sweet material that consists essentially of sucrose obtained from sugarcane or sugar beets, is typically colorless or white when pure, and is commonly used to sweeten foods and beverages
2 : any of numerous soluble and usually sweet carbohydrates (as glucose or sucrose) that occur naturally especially in plants


sugared; sugaring

Kids Definition of sugar (Entry 2 of 2)

: to mix, cover, or sprinkle with sugar The baker sugared the doughnuts.


sug·​ar | \ ˈshu̇g-ər How to pronounce sugar (audio) \

Medical Definition of sugar

1 : a sweet crystallizable substance that consists chiefly of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure and tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative for other foods and for drugs and in the chemical industry as an intermediate
2 : any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness and comprise the oligosaccharides including sucrose

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More from Merriam-Webster on sugar

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sugar

Spanish Central: Translation of sugar

Nglish: Translation of sugar for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of sugar for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about sugar

Comments on sugar

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a flaw that causes the downfall of a hero

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