from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See spikenard.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A flowering plant of the Valerian family that grows in the Himalayas of China, used as a perfume, an incense, a sedative, and an herbal medicine said to fight insomnia, flatulence, birth difficulties, and other minor ailments.
  • n. A fragrant oil formerly much prized from the plant.
  • n. American 1980s slang word for testicles, equivalent to balls or nuts. Example: The soccer ball hit me right in the nards!

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An East Indian plant (Nardostachys Jatamansi) of the Valerian family, used from remote ages in Oriental perfumery.
  • n. An ointment prepared partly from this plant. See Spikenard.
  • n. A kind of grass (Nardus stricta) of little value, found in Europe and Asia.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To anoint with nard.
  • n. A plant: same as spikenard. See Nardostachys.
  • n. An aromatic unguent prepared from this plant.
  • n. Same as mat-grass, 2. See also Nardus.
  • n. A European plant, Valeriana Celtica, formerly used in medicine; also, one of other species of valerian.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an aromatic ointment used in antiquity


Middle English narde, from Old French, from Latin nardus, from Greek nardos, probably ultimately from Sanskrit naladam, Indian spikenard.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English narde, from Latin nardus, from Ancient Greek νάρδος (nárdos), ultimately from Sanskrit नरद (nárada, "Indian spikenard"). (Wiktionary)



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Another usage note in comment on malabathron.

    November 30, 2016

  • "Long before the invention of television or the romantic novelist there was the Song of Songs, with its lyrical evocation of the loved one as 'an orchard of pomegranates with all the choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh, and aloes, with all chief spices.'"
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation _ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xiii.

    November 26, 2016

  • No troops of saucy home-bred slaves await us

    Obviously, Georgie had never been to Spokane!

    September 24, 2009

  • This reminded me, instantly and unbidden, of Pinky and the Brain. Narf!

    September 23, 2009

  • Eheu! we lack all Persian apparatus—
    The wine, the nard, the rose’s tardy bloom;
    No troops of saucy home-bred slaves await us,
    Nor polished silver in the fire-lit room;
    And as for lyres and lutes of sound convention,
    The H. C. L. forbids their very mention.

    - George Meason Whicher, 'For the Eighth of December'.

    September 23, 2009