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[shoo g-er] /ˈʃʊg ər/
a sweet, crystalline substance, C 1 2 H 2 2 O 1 1 , obtained chiefly from the juice of the sugarcane and the sugar beet, and present in sorghum, maple sap, etc.: used extensively as an ingredient and flavoring of certain foods and as a fermenting agent in the manufacture of certain alcoholic beverages; sucrose.
Chemistry. a member of the same class of carbohydrates, as lactose, glucose, or fructose.
(sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address, as to a child or a romantic partner (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter S.
Slang. money.
Slang. LSD.
verb (used with object)
to cover, sprinkle, mix, or sweeten with sugar.
to make agreeable.
verb (used without object)
to form sugar or sugar crystals.
to make maple sugar.
Verb phrases
sugar off, (in making maple sugar) to complete the boiling down of the syrup in preparation for granulation.
1250-1300; Middle English sugre, sucre (noun) < Middle French sucre < Medieval Latin succārum < Italian zucchero < Arabic sukkar; obscurely akin to Persian shakar, Greek sákcharon (see sacchar-)
Related forms
sugarless, adjective
sugarlike, adjective
nonsugar, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sugars
  • The normal range of newborn blood sugars continues to be debated.
  • Carbohydrates are hydrolysed into simple sugars, such as glucose and fructose.
  • They are generally composed of simple sugars, and are often slightly alkaline.
  • Lactose is a composite of two simple sugars, glucose and galactose.
  • Nonvolatile substances such as pigments, sugars, and salts remain behind in the still.
  • In this informal sense, the word sugar principally refers to crystalline sugars.
  • Natural sugars come in fruit, grains and vegetables in their natural or cooked form.
  • Chemistry biochemists regard sugars as relatively simple carbohydrates.
  • Note for example glycoproteins, proteins connected to one or more sugars.
  • Because d sugars are biologically far more common, the d is often omitted.
British Dictionary definitions for sugars


Also called sucrose, saccharose. a white crystalline sweet carbohydrate, a disaccharide, found in many plants and extracted from sugar cane and sugar beet: it is used esp as a sweetening agent in food and drinks. Formula: C12H22O11 related adjective saccharine
any of a class of simple water-soluble carbohydrates, such as sucrose, lactose, and fructose
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) a term of affection, esp for one's sweetheart
(rare) a slang word for money
a slang name for LSD
(transitive) to add sugar to; make sweet
(transitive) to cover or sprinkle with sugar
(intransitive) to produce sugar
sugar the pill, sugar the medicine, to make something unpleasant more agreeable by adding something pleasant: the government stopped wage increases but sugared the pill by reducing taxes
Derived Forms
sugarless, adjective
sugar-like, adjective
Word Origin
C13 suker, from Old French çucre, from Medieval Latin zuccārum, from Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit śarkarā


Alan (Michael). Baron. born 1947, British electronics entrepreneur; chairman of Amstrad (1968–2008); noted for his BBC series The Apprentice (from 2005)
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 sugars



late 13c., sugre, from Old French sucre "sugar" (12c.), from Medieval Latin succarum, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit sharkara "ground or candied sugar," originally "grit, gravel" (cognate with Greek kroke "pebble"). The Arabic word also was borrowed in Italian (zucchero), Spanish (azucar), and German (Old High German zucura, German Zucker), and its forms are represented in most European languages (cf. Serb. cukar, Polish cukier, Russian sakhar).

Its Old World home was India (Alexander the Great's companions marveled at the "honey without bees") and it remained exotic in Europe until the Arabs began to cultivate it in Sicily and Spain; not until after the Crusades did it begin to rival honey as the West's sweetener. The Spaniards in the West Indies began raising sugar cane in 1506; first grown in Cuba 1523; first cultivated in Brazil 1532. The -g- in the English form cannot be accounted for. The pronunciation shift from s- to sh- is probably from the initial long vowel sound syu- (as in sure). Slang "euphemistic substitute for an imprecation" [OED] is attested from 1891. As a term of endearment, first recorded 1930. Sugar maple is from 1753. Sugar loaf was originally a moulded conical mass of refined sugar (early 15c.); they're now obsolete, but sense extended 17c. to hills, hats, etc. of that shape.


early 15c., "to sweeten with sugar," also figuratively, "to make more pleasing, mitigate the harshness of," from sugar (n.). Related: Sugared; sugaring.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sugars in Medicine

sugar sug·ar (shug'ər)

  1. A crystalline or powdered substance consisting of sucrose obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beets and used in many medicines to improve their taste.

  2. Any of a class of water-soluble crystalline carbohydrates, including sucrose and lactose, having a characteristically sweet taste and classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, and trisaccharides.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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sugars in Science
Any of a class of crystalline carbohydrates that are water-soluble, have a characteristic sweet taste, and are universally present in animals and plants. They are characterized by the many OH groups they contain. Sugars are monosaccharides or small oligosaccharides, and include sucrose, glucose, and lactose.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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sugars in Culture

sugars definition

Carbohydrates that can supply energy to living things. Common table sugar is sucrose. Some other sugars are fructose, which is found in fruits; lactose, which is found in milk; and glucose, which is the most common sugar in the bodies of animals and plants.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sugars


  1. Beer (1904+) sudser
  2. A soap opera or soap-opera-like show; soap: Harvey Fierstein's savvy sudser about a not-so-gay drag queen (1969+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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