American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. An aromatic perennial herb (Nardostachys jatamansi) of the Himalaya Mountains, having rose-purple flowers. Also called nard.
- n. An ointment of antiquity, probably prepared from this aromatic plant.
- n. A North American plant (Aralia racemosa) having small greenish flowers, aromatic roots, and bipinnately compound leaves.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A plant, the source of a famous perfumed unguent of the ancients, now believed to be Nardostachys Jatamansi, closely allied to valerian, found in the Himalayan region. This plant is known to have been used by the Hindus as a medicine and perfume from a very remote period, and is at present employed chiefly in hair-washes and ointments. The odor is heavy and peculiar, described as resembling that of a mixture of vale rian and patchouli. The market drug consists of short pieces of the rootstock densely covered with libers, the remains of leafstalks. Also
- n. An aromatic ointment of ancient times, in which spikenard was the characteristic ingredient; nard. It was extremely costly.
- n. A name given to various fragrant essential oils.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) An aromatic plant. In the United States it is the Aralia racemosa, often called
spignet, and used as a medicine. The spikenard of the ancients is the Nardostachys Jatamansi, a native of the Himalayan region. From its blackish roots a perfume for the hair is still prepared in India.
- n. A fragrant essential oil, as that from the Nardostachys Jatamansi.
- n. an aromatic ointment used in antiquity
- Middle English, from Anglo-Norman, from Medieval Latin spīca nardī : Latin spīca, spike, ear + Latin nardī, genitive of nardus, nard. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The spikenard is a lowly herb, the emblem of humility.”
“In another incident the hapless Judas Iscariot questions why Jesus has expensive ointment (a pound of "spikenard" worth 300 denarii, or a year's wages) rubbed on his feet (and wiped off with a woman's hair!).”
“In the garden grow "an orchard of pomegranates . . . spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense".”
“Season of the Inundation: Sweet, black silt mingled with holy myrrh, melilot, hyssop, spikenard, balsam, cedar, and a hint of melting snow from the Abyssinian hills.”
“Geilie's loose, flowing gowns smelled always of the essences she distilled: marigold, chamomile, bay leaf, spikenard, mint, marjoram.”
“Other significant aromatics in traditional Japanese perfumery are gum-resins such as borneol and camphor, myrrh, frankincense and benzoin; roots such as galangal alpinia and spikenard; patchouli leaves; and spices – cloves, cassia, cinnamon and star anise.”
“When Mary washes his feet with expensive spikenard, Judas asks, "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?”
“This scent is subtitled “A spikenard perfume” and this is an aromatic plant from which a healing ointment is made; it has been used for both its medicinal properties and in rituals since ancient times and is a component of Indian Ayurvedic traditions.”
“In it the scene unfolds where Mary anoints Jesus feet with the precious ointment, spikenard.”
“Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard”
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