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spikenard

[spahyk-nerd, -nahrd]
noun
  1. an aromatic, Indian plant, Nardostachys jatamansi, of the valerian family, believed to be the nard of the ancients.
  2. an aromatic substance used by the ancients, supposed to be obtained from this plant.
  3. any of various other plants, especially an American plant, Aralia racemosa, of the ginseng family, having an aromatic root.
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Origin of spikenard

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English word from Medieval Latin word spīca nardī. See spike2, nard
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spikenard

Historical Examples of spikenard

  • Cumfrey and Spikenard are so well known that they need no describing.

    Mrs. Hale's Receipts for the Million

    Sarah Josepha Hale

  • Spikenard and myrabolans from the province of Columbaia , 600 leagues from Calicut.

  • The Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) belongs to the natural order Valerianace.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot


British Dictionary definitions for spikenard

spikenard

noun
  1. an aromatic Indian valerianaceous plant, Nardostachys jatamans, having rose-purple flowers
  2. an aromatic ointment obtained from this plant
  3. any of various similar or related plants
  4. a North American araliaceous plant, Aralia racemosa, having small green flowers and an aromatic root
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Also called (for senses 1, 2): nard

Word Origin for spikenard

C14: from Medieval Latin spīca nardī; see spike ², nard
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 spikenard

n.

mid-14c., "aromatic substance from an Indian plant," from Medieval Latin spica nardi (see spike (n.2)), rendering Greek nardou stakhys; the second element probably ultimately from Sanskrit nalada-, the name of the plant.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper