- a drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble.
- anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, especially of sorrow or trouble.
Origin of nepenthe
- a drug, or the plant providing it, that ancient writers referred to as a means of forgetting grief or trouble
- anything that produces sleep, forgetfulness, or pleasurable dreaminess
Word Origin for nepenthe
Word Origin and History for nepenthean
1570s, nepenthes, from Greek nepenthes, from ne- "no, not" (see un-) + penthos "pain, grief," from PIE *kwent(h)- "to suffer" (see pathos). A drug of Egypt mentioned in the "Odyssey" as capable of banishing grief or trouble from the mind. The -s is a proper part of the word, but likely was mistaken in English as a plural affix and dropped.