sug·​ar | \ˈshu̇-gər \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from sugar


sugarless \ˈshu̇-​gər-​ləs \ 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Season with salt to taste and a pinch of sugar, if needed. Max Falkowitz, WSJ, "Flake News: Fresh Coconut Is Delicious," 23 Nov. 2018 Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Election Cake," 24 Oct. 2018 In a large metal or glass bowl, whisk together the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar. Redbook Test Kitchen, Redbook, "Marshmallow Ghosts," 19 Sep. 2018 For orange mint syrup: in a saucepan, combine 1 cup dried orange mint tops with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. Anne Brockhoff, kansascity, "Is your cocktail in season? Bartenders letting gardens dictate what's in your glass," 24 Apr. 2018 There are several copycat recipes online that vary only by the amount of sugar. Claire Perez,, "Piccadilly's carrot souffle is legendary," 20 Apr. 2018 Instructions Place the sugar in an Old Fashioned glass. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "How to Drink Whiskey: A Complete Guide," 1 Oct. 2018 There is no sugar, candy bars, soda (diet or otherwise) allowed in our office. Rolfe Winkler, WSJ, "Don’t Let Them Eat Cake: Bosses Sugar-Shame Office Treats," 17 Sep. 2018 Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate: Glucosamine is an amino sugar, and cartilage naturally contains chondroitin sulfate. Shelby Deering, Country Living, "Ask a Country Vet: How Can I Keep My Sporting Dog Healthy and Happy?," 11 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sugar

Dictionary Entries near sugar





sugar ant

sugar apple

sugar ash

Statistics for sugar

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for sugar

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

: 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)

: to make maple syrup or maple sugar by boiling sap from maple trees


sug·​ar | \ˈshu̇-gər \

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 \

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up sugar? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!