[ ni-pen-thee ]
See synonyms for nepenthe on
  1. a drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble.

  2. anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, especially of sorrow or trouble.

Origin of nepenthe

First recorded in 1590–1600; from Latin nēpenthes, from Greek nēpenthés “herb for soothing,” noun use of neuter of nēpenthḗs “banishing pain,” equivalent to nē- “un-” (negative prefix) + pénth(os) “grief, pain, sorrow” + -ēs adjective suffix

Other words from nepenthe

  • ne·pen·the·an, adjective

Words Nearby nepenthe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use nepenthe in a sentence

  • I did not find the nepenthe I sought for anywhere on draught, so I went home in disgust.

  • Fifteen minutes later he returned with a kettle of his favourite nepenthe and all three adventurers drank to a bon voyage home.

    Captain Scraggs | Peter B. Kyne
  • I do not mistake tapers for torches, ducats for louis dors, vicarious nepenthe for dreamless death.

    I, Mary MacLane | Mary MacLane
  • Lay thy annulling seal upon the o'erlabored heart: drop thy healing nepenthe into the weary brain.

    War and the Weird | Forbes Phillips
  • Repeat that air; it fascinates, benumbs me, it takes away my memory like a cup of nepenthe.

British Dictionary definitions for nepenthe


/ (nɪˈpɛnθɪ) /

  1. a drug, or the plant providing it, that ancient writers referred to as a means of forgetting grief or trouble

  2. anything that produces sleep, forgetfulness, or pleasurable dreaminess

Origin of nepenthe

C16: via Latin from Greek nēpenthes sedative made from a herb, from nē- not + penthos grief

Derived forms of nepenthe

  • nepenthean, adjective

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