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[nuht-meg] /ˈnʌt mɛg/
the hard, aromatic seed of the fruit of an East Indian tree, Myristica fragrans, used in grated form as a spice.
the similar product of certain other trees of the same genus or other genera.
a tree bearing such seeds.
Origin of nutmeg
1300-50; Middle English notemug(g)e, perhaps back formation from *notemugede (-ede being taken as -ed3), equivalent to note nut + mugede < Old French < Late Latin muscāta musky; see musk, -ate1
Related forms
nutmegged, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nutmeg
  • Top the mixture with a sprinkling of nutmeg and two small pats of butter or margarine.
  • The fruit of nutmeg trees typically ripen early in the day, possibly to take advantage of the toucan's early morning activity.
  • It is a basic white sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg- you can add cheeses for more flavor.
  • In another, they found a silver cruet set, nutmeg grater and bottle of peppercorns.
  • Spices might include cinnamon, nutmeg, mace or cloves.
  • Allow one-half cup sugar and one-fourth teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg to eight apples.
  • The meal is always finished with baked wedding custard sprinkled with almonds, pistachios, cardamom and nutmeg powder.
  • Add some pepper to taste and a few grinds of nutmeg, heat but do not boil.
  • nutmeg graters are small enough to fit into a stocking, and they grate the whole nutmeg seed into a coarse, fragrant powder.
  • Stir in the salt, a few gratings of nutmeg and lemon juice.
British Dictionary definitions for nutmeg


an East Indian evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans, cultivated in the tropics for its hard aromatic seed: family Myristicaceae See also mace2
the seed of this tree, used as a spice
any of several similar trees or their fruit
a greyish-brown colour
verb (transitive) -megs, -megging, -megged
(Brit, sport, informal) to kick or hit the ball between the legs of (an opposing player)
Word Origin
C13: from Old French nois muguede, from Old Provençal noz muscada musk-scented nut, from Latin nuxnut + muscusmusk
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
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Word Origin and History for nutmeg

"hard aromatic seed of the East Indies," c.1300, from Old North French or Anglo-French *noiz mugue, from Old French nois muguete, unexplained alteration of nois muscade "nut smelling like musk," from nois "nut" (from Latin nux) + Latin muscada, fem. of muscat "musky" (see muscat). Probably influenced in English by Medieval Latin nux maga (cf. unaltered Dutch muskaatnoot, German muscatnuß, Swedish muskotnöt).

American English colloquial wooden nutmeg "anything false or fraudulent" is from 1830. Connecticut is called the Nutmeg State "in allusion to the story that wooden nutmegs are there manufactured for exportation." [John Russell Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1859]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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