aga·​ve ə-ˈgä-vē How to pronounce agave (audio)
: any of a genus (Agave of the family Agavaceae, the agave family) of plants having spiny-margined leaves and flowers in tall spreading panicles and including some cultivated for their fiber or sap or for ornament

Illustration of agave

Illustration of agave

Examples of agave in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Smoke on the Water At SALT at Hilton Pensacola Beach, this smokey and sweet treat is made with 400 Conejos Mezcal, watermelon puree, agave, and fresh citrus. Aly Walansky, Forbes, 17 Feb. 2024 And poor Michoacan faces new threats from U.S. consumers: Part of the state next to neighboring Jalisco is certified to grow the blue Weber agave, the only plant from which true tequila can be distilled. Mark Stevenson, Fortune, 11 Feb. 2024 The drinks menu prioritizes sugarcane and agave spirits: rums, tequilas and mezcals, in addition to more obscure spirits like Shōchū (from Japan), bacanora and sotol (northern Mexico) and rhum agricole (French Caribbean). David Hudnall, Kansas City Star, 2 Feb. 2024 Its signature drinks are the Charlotte Skyline, made with tequila, lemon, agave and grapefruit nectar, as well as Panther Punch, which includes pineapple rum, Muddy River Distillery rum, blue curacao, pineapple juice, with lime and orange garnish. Shannon Greene, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The agave used in mezcal is roasted, imparting a smokier taste to drinks than tequila, too. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 3 Dec. 2023 Wash it all down with a refreshing cocktail like the Palomita, made with Casa del Sol Reposado, Tajin, agave, and grapefruit soda. Brandon Perlman, Travel + Leisure, 29 Jan. 2024 There are 10 swanky new cocktails to try, including Banana Mezcal with mezcal, Giffard Banane du Brasil, lime, agave, and plantain chips, and the El Rico with Tequila Ocho Extra Anejo and Vago Ensamble mezcal with amaro, egg whites and edible gold. Connie Ogle, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024 Add the orange juice, sparkling water, ginger beer, and agave or simple syrup. Katie Workman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'agave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Greek agauḗ, feminine of agauós "admirable, illustrious, brilliant," of uncertain origin

Note: First distinguished as a genus separate from aloe by Linnaeus in Hortus Upsaliensis v. 1 (Stockholm, 1748), p. 87-88: "The African and Asian [species of aloe], naturally of pharmacological use and known for a longer time, would retain their everyday pharmacological name; another name should be conferred on these [species of Agave], and since among the synonyms nothing worthy presents itself, and an ancient name may be applied to an ancient genus, thereby I have called it Agave as it is an admirable plant" ("Africanae & Asiaticae utpote officinales, diutius notae retineant nomen officinale & usitatissimum; aliud his imponatur, inter synonyma nullum dignum occur[r]it, licet antiquo generi antiquum nomen competeret, ideoque dixi Agave quasi plantam admirabilem."). The non-Latinization of final eta may have been motivated by the various mythological personages named Agave in Latin versions of Greek tales. The etymology of Greek agauós is uncertain; a connection with agánai/ágamai, "wonder at, admire," is plausible semantically, but the internal upsilon seems justified neither by the root nor by ordinary derivation.

First Known Use

1760, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of agave was in 1760

Dictionary Entries Near agave

Cite this Entry

“Agave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


aga·​ve ə-ˈgäv-ē How to pronounce agave (audio)
: any of a genus of plants (as the century plant) that have spiny-edged leaves and flowers in tall branched clusters and include some cultivated for fiber or for ornament

Medical Definition


aga·​ve ə-ˈgäv-ē How to pronounce agave (audio)
capitalized : a genus of plants (family Agavaceae) that are native to tropical America and to the southwestern United States, have spiny-margined leaves in basal rosettes and tall spikes of flowers, and include some that are cultivated for their fiber or sap or for ornament
: a plant (as the century plant) of the genus Agave
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