from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans) native to the East Indies and cultivated for its aromatic seeds.
  • noun The hard, aromatic seed of this tree, used as a spice when grated or ground.
  • noun A grayish to moderate brown.
  • noun The act of kicking a soccer ball between the legs of a defender.
  • transitive verb To kick a soccerball between the legs of (a defender).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The kernel of the fruit of the nutmeg-tree, Myristica fragrans (M. moschata); also, the similar product of other trees of this genus. See Myristica.
  • noun Any tree of the genus Myristica.
  • noun One of various trees of other genera. See below.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) The kernel of the fruit of the nutmeg tree (Myristica fragrans), a native of the Molucca Islands, but cultivated elsewhere in the tropics.
  • noun the fruit of a tropical shrub (Monodora Myristica). It is about the size of an orange, and contains many aromatic seeds imbedded in pulp.
  • noun the fruit of a lauraceous tree, Cryptocarya moschata.
  • noun a tree of the Yew family (Torreya Californica), growing in the Western United States, and having a seed which resembles a nutmeg in appearance, but is strongly impregnated with turpentine.
  • noun the Ravensara aromatica, a lauraceous tree of Madagascar. The foliage is used as a spice, but the seed is acrid and caustic.
  • noun See American nutmeg (above).
  • noun (Zoöl.) an Indian finch (Munia punctularia).
  • noun a solid oil extracted from the nutmeg by expression.
  • noun (Bot.) a ranunculaceous herb (Nigella sativa) with small black aromatic seeds, which are used medicinally and for excluding moths from furs and clothing.
  • noun (Med.) a name applied to the liver, when, as the result of heart or lung disease, it undergoes congestion and pigmentation about the central veins of its lobules, giving it an appearance resembling that of a nutmeg.
  • noun (Bot.) a small variety of muskmelon of a rich flavor.
  • noun (Zoöl.) any one of several species of pigeons of the genus Myristicivora, native of the East Indies and Australia. The color is usually white, or cream-white, with black on the wings and tail.
  • noun (Bot.) the wood of the Palmyra palm.
  • noun the aromatic seed of a South American tree (Laurelia sempervirens).
  • noun (Bot.) a spicy tree of Australia (Atherosperma moschata).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun an evergreen tree, Myristica fragrans, cultivated in the East Indies for its spicy seeds
  • noun the aromatic seed of this tree, used as a spice
  • noun a grey-brown colour
  • noun soccer The playing of the ball between the legs of an opponent
  • verb transitive to flavour with nutmeg
  • verb soccer, transitive to play the ball between the legs of (an opponent)

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

  • noun hard aromatic seed of the nutmeg tree used as spice when grated or ground
  • noun East Indian tree widely cultivated in the tropics for its aromatic seed; source of two spices: nutmeg and mace


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

[Middle English notemuge, probably ultimately from Old French nois mugede, alteration of nois muscade, nut smelling like musk, from Old Provençal notz muscada : notz, nut (from Latin nux, nuc-, nut) + muscada, smelling like musk (from musc, musk, from Late Latin muscus; see musk). N., sense 4 and v., perhaps from earlier slang nutmegs, testicles, or current slang nuts, testicles (since the nutmegged ball passes between the defender's legs) or perhaps from rhyming slang nutmeg, leg.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

A part-translation of Old French nois mugede (modern noix de muscade or noix muscade), from mediaeval Latin nux muscata, literally ‘musky nut’.



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  • Football (soccer) jargon: to pass the ball between your opponent's legs.

    June 8, 2011

  • Typically accomplished with an exultant cry of "nuts!" or "megs!" from the successful party.

    June 8, 2011

  • Oh dear.

    June 9, 2011

  • "In England in 1284, a pound of mace cost 4 s. 7 d., a sum that could also buy three sheep--a whopping outlay for even the better-off peasantry. At much the same time, a pound of nutmeg would buy half a cow."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 136

    December 2, 2016

  • Very interesting usage/historical note relevant to crappuccino can be found on that page. Also on Coca-Cola.

    Also, "... The reference may be to a historical figure, the abbot of Broussin, a nutmeg addict who was mocked for putting the spice in all his sauces. Having long since anesthetized his taste buds with excessive spice, he was always in need of a stronger flavor that his jaded palate could recognize."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 300

    December 3, 2016

  • "The nutmeg tree he compared to walnut trees, its fruit the same color and size as a quince. The brilliant red spice, he noted, 'is wrapped around the rind of the nut, and within that is the nutmeg.' ... Thus he was able to domesticate with comparisons these most exotic of all commodities for his European readers."

    --Joyce Appleby, Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 55

    December 28, 2016

  • "A witness described the eighteen survivors of the earth's first circumnavigation as wan and skinny; their boat having more holes than a sieve. When the Victoria arrived in Spain, its hold contained twenty-six tons of cloves, nutmegs, and cinnamon. Sold in Antwerp a year later, the returns covered the entire costs of the expedition plus a 6 percent profit."

    --Joyce Appleby, Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination (New York and London: W.W. Norton & Co., 2013), p. 56

    December 28, 2016

  • "The attraction of the East as both exotic and sacred is apparent in a story told by Thomas of Cantimpre, a thirteenth-century encyclopedist who also wrote biographies of saintly contemporaries. He describes an unusually austere bishop who received a magnificent silver cup filled with nutmegs. The bishop sent back the silver goblet, but he made an exception to his rule of refusing gifts and accepted the nutmegs, saying that he did so because they were 'the fruit of the Orient.'"

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 5.

    A note on determining freshness can be found on gum arabic. A note on relative value and amounts of trade can be found on cloves and on garbling, while a weird historical note can be found on Connecticut, a/k/a "the Nutmeg State."

    October 9, 2017

  • "The crucial role that nutmeg played in early colonial history is hard to reconcile with the dusty tin of spice most Americans take out of the rack at the end of the year to garnish their eggnog."

    John Seabrook, "Soldiers and Spice," originally published in the New Yorker, August 31, 2001

    November 28, 2017

  • "It isn't as if one day spices were all the rage, and on the next day they suddenly fell from grace. As late as 1667, the tiny nutmeg island of Run in the Banda archipelago was exchanged by the British for the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam on the American continent, the future heart of New York City. Even though King Charles II of England thought his side had the advantage of this deal, he could not have known just how different the value of the two islands of Manhattan and Run would subsequently be. Not only did succeeding years unveil the economic might of New York, they also revealed the decreasing importance of nutmeg. The decline was gradual, but inexorable and finally quite extreme."

    Paul Freedman, <i>Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination</i> (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 222.

    November 28, 2017