Definitions

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

  • n. A hairy aromatic perennial herb (Nepeta cataria) in the mint family, native to Eurasia and containing an aromatic oil to which cats are strongly attracted.
  • n. Any of various other mostly aromatic plants of the genus Nepeta, cultivated for their ornamental foliage and clusters of blue, lavender, or white flowers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of the about 250 species of flowering plant of the genus Nepeta, family Lamiaceae, certain of which are said to have medicinal qualities.
  • n. Nepeta cataria and Nepeta grandiflora (and perhaps other species), which are well-known for causing an apparently harmless pheromone-based intoxication among certain cats.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A well-know plant of the genus Nepeta (Nepeta Cataria), somewhat like mint, having a string scent, and sometimes used in medicine. It is so called because cats have a peculiar fondness for it.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Same as catmint.

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

  • n. hairy aromatic perennial herb having whorls of small white purple-spotted flowers in a terminal spike; used in the past as a domestic remedy; strongly attractive to cats

Etymologies

cat + nip, catnip (variant of nep, from Middle English nept, nep, from Old English nepte, from Latin nepeta, aromatic herb, perhaps of Etruscan origin).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Compound of cat + Middle English nep, from Old English nepte, from Latin nepeta. (Wiktionary)

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