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 sugar (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 sugar (audio) \ adjective

Examples of sugar in a Sentence

Noun Would you pass the sugar, please? Do you take sugar in your coffee? Coffee with two sugars and milk, please. Verb 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 After baking and cooling, brush pretzels with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "How to make soft pretzels," 28 Apr. 2021 Laced with ginger and garlic and sprinkled with sugar in the pan, this dish is reminiscent of Julie's favorite Chinese take-out: dry-sautéed string beans. Jenny Comita, Better Homes & Gardens, "Kitchen Kismet," 16 Apr. 2021 On prepared sheet, toss rhubarb with sugar and ginger. Ashley Rodriguez, Woman's Day, "Vanilla Panna Cotta with Roasted Rhubarb," 7 Apr. 2021 Pastellitos are plantains, stuffed with refried beans or sweet cream and sprinkled with sugar. Susan Dunne,, "Morán, new Salvadoran restaurant in Manchester, builds on success of Hartford food truck," 6 Apr. 2021 What if your heart desires a candy bar that’s not loaded with sugar and other questionable ingredients? Claudia Alarcón, Forbes, "How Innovative Food Companies Are Meeting Demand For Healthier Choices Without Sacrificing Flavor," 5 Apr. 2021 Fresh berries, maybe dusted with a little powdered sugar, always look gorgeous and pair well with both chocolate and vanilla. Lisa Ruland, Bon Appétit, "How to Stack and Decorate a Layer Cake Without an Architecture Degree," 29 Mar. 2021 Before the storm, Ms. Couch said Ms. Wilborn made a cup of black coffee with no sugar and sat down to listen to Scripture. New York Times, "After the Tornadoes, Small Towns Grieve for Lost Lives and Wrecked Homes," 26 Mar. 2021 The vendor also sells ube and chocolate peanut butter mochi, plus pillow blocks of chichi dango, another type of mochi that's sweetened with sugar and coconut milk. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "Bagels, mochi, mushrooms: 5 new food vendors to try at the Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market," 25 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But last week, even as the case works its way through the court system, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that could hinder residents’ legal options and undo the most significant challenge to sugar cane burning, and the industry, in years. Lulu Ramadan, ProPublica, "“They’re Trying to Make It So We Walk Away”: It’s About to Get Harder to File Lawsuits Saying Sugar Harvesters Poisoned the Air," 28 Apr. 2021 Japanese scientists have inhibited the growth of human leukemia and other cancer cells in petri dishes by exposing them to sugar cane vinegar and Japanese rice vinegar. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "5 benefits of apple cider vinegar (and a few duds), according to experts," 10 Mar. 2021 The cold turns the starch to sugar and changes the taste and texture. Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Spud hints," 21 Oct. 2020 The hushpuppy paddle was loaded with the thick batter my mother prepared (with diced onions but never sugar). Leslie Anne Tarabella, al, "Don’t give me a bad hushpuppy," 10 Sep. 2020 Come ready to sugar load as Tosi breaks down iconic Milk Bar sweets like her gooey butter cake, brownies, blondies, and chocolate chip cookies, as well as the occasional savory recipe like tortillas. Erica Firpo, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Chefs Are Hosting (Free) Online Cooking Classes Right Now," 8 Apr. 2020 Moral tales sugared with spectacle like anything Disney? Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Lightning Thief,’ a Far Cry From Olympus," 16 Oct. 2019 Mass Audubon, among others, has begun organizing visits and tours of its sanctuaries that have sapping and sugaring operations. Kim Tan,, "Take heart: the maples are stirring and the sugaring season is just about here," 23 Feb. 2020 Working with half the dough at a time (leaving the rest in the refrigerator), roll it out on the sugared surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "It’s time you made Joe Froggers, the molasses cookies that are fun to say and eat," 2 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sugar

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for sugar

Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Sugar.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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