• synonyms


  1. an aromatic Himalayan plant, believed to be the spikenard, Nardostachys jatamansi, the source of an ointment used by the ancients.
  2. the ointment.
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Origin of nard

1350–1400; Middle English narde < Latin nardus < Greek nárdos < Semitic; compare Hebrew nērd
Related formsnar·dine [nahr-din, -dahyn] /ˈnɑr dɪn, -daɪn/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nard

Historical Examples

  • I can “break the ball of nard,” and make perfume, “but still the sleeper sleeps.”

    My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

    John Henry Jowett

  • Thus he mentions pira nardina, a pear with the scent of nard; pira onynchina, a pear of the colour of the fingernail, and others.

  • Nard, nrd, n. an aromatic plant usually called Spikenard: an ointment prepared from it.

  • "The warmth of thy garments hath a goodlier smell than myrrh, than nard," he is saying, avidly touching her ear with his lips.

  • So all the fire is continually a-crackle, amidst a thin smoke of a smell like nard.

    The Three Mulla-mulgars

    Walter De La Mare

British Dictionary definitions for nard


  1. another name for spikenard (def. 1), spikenard (def. 2)
  2. any of several plants, such as certain valerians, whose aromatic roots were formerly used in medicine
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Word Origin

C14: via Latin from Greek nárdos, perhaps ultimately from Sanskrit nalada Indian spikenard, perhaps via Semitic (Hebrew nēr'd, Arabic nārdīn)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for nard


late 14c., from Old French narde (Modern French nard), from Latin nardus, from Greek nardos, of Eastern origin (cf. Hebrew ner'd, plural n'radim; Arabic and Persian nardin, Sanskrit narada, nalada, name of an aromatic balsam).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper