American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of numerous plants of the genus Agave, native to hot, dry regions of the New World and having basal rosettes of tough, sword-shaped, often spiny-margined leaves. Agaves are grown for ornament, fiber, and food. Also called century plant.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A large North American genus of plants, of the natural order Amaryllidaceæ, chiefly Mexican. They are acaulescent or nearly so, of slow growth, often large, consisting of a dense cluster of rigid fleshy leaves, which are spine-tipped and usually spinosely toothed. The best-known species is the century-plant, or American aloe, A. Americana, first introduced from Mexico into Europe in 1561, and now frequently cultivated for ornament, as are also various other species. It lives many years, 10 to 50 or more, before flowering, whence the name century-plant. At maturity it throws up rapidly from its center a tall scape bearing a large compound inflorescence, and dies after perfecting its fruit. It is extensively cultivated in Mexico under the name of maguey, and is put to many uses. The sap, obtained in abundance from the plant when the flowering stem is just ready to burst forth, produces when fermented a beverage resembling cider, called by the Mexicans pulque. An extract of the leaves is used as a substitute for soap, and the flower-stem, when withered, is cut up into slices to form razor-strops. The leaves of nearly all the species yield a more or less valuable fiber, which is made into thread and ropes and has been used in the manufacture of paper. Sisal hemp, or-henequin, is the product of A. Ixtli, and is exported in large quantities from Yucatan. A West Indian species, A. Keratto, closely resembling A. Americana, yields the keratto fiber. A. Virginica, of the southern United States, known as false aloe, belongs to a group of species with less rigid leaves and with the solitary flowers in a simple spike.
- n. [lowercase] A plant of this genus.
- n. A plant of the genus Agave which includes the maguey or century plant. Attaining maturity, it produces a gigantic flower stem.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (bot.) A genus of plants (order Amaryllidaceæ) of which the chief species is the maguey or century plant (Agave Americana), wrongly called Aloe. It is from ten to seventy years, according to climate, in attaining maturity, when it produces a gigantic flower stem, sometimes forty feet in height, and perishes. The fermented juice is the pulque of the Mexicans; distilled, it yields mescal. A strong thread and a tough paper are made from the leaves, and the wood has many uses.
- n. tropical American plants with basal rosettes of fibrous sword-shaped leaves and flowers in tall spikes; some cultivated for ornament or for fiber
- From Ancient Greek Ἀγαυή (Agauē, "Agave"), from ἀγαυός (agauos, "noble, illustrious"). (Wiktionary)
- New Latin Agavē, genus name, from Greek agauē, feminine of agauos, noble. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Although the process varies from distiller to distiller, the basics are pretty much the same: first the agave is allowed to grow for ten years.”
“I left off the agave nectar because agave is a natural complement of tequila.”
“Heavy machinery is used for clearing agave from the construction site.”
“Contrary to popular belief, the agave is not a member of the cactus family, but rather comprises its own distinct botanical family, agavaceae, related to the lily.”
“We walked around to the other end of the ovens where the agave is taken out of the ovens and run through a machine, which shreds and squeezes it.”
“When the sugar comes from the agave plant, then 100% agave is put on the label and that is the most expensive tequila.”
“The agave is not there; it has blossomed and been cut down.”
“Edible parts of the agave are the flowers, leaves, stalks and the sap.”
“And if we compare rebaudioside A to another, newly popular, "natural" sweetener, namely agave syrup, it gets even more apparent that although we may start with something from nature, by the time we reach the end of the processing chain, the finished product is a lot different.”
“It's easy to grasp olive oil, but the agave is a bit sticky and a lot thicker - you've totally got me thinking!”
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