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

  • n. A sweet crystalline or powdered substance, white when pure, consisting of sucrose obtained mainly from sugar cane and sugar beets and used in many foods, drinks, and medicines to improve their taste. Also called table sugar.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A unit, such as a lump or cube, in which sugar is dispensed or taken.
  • n. Slang Sweetheart. Used as a term of endearment.
  • transitive v. To coat, cover, or sweeten with sugar.
  • transitive v. To make less distasteful or more appealing.
  • intransitive v. To form sugar.
  • intransitive v. To form granules; granulate.
  • intransitive v. To make sugar or syrup from sugar maple sap. Often used with off.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Sucrose in the form of small crystals, obtained from sugar cane or sugar beet and used to sweeten food and drink.
  • n. When used to sweeten drink, an amount of such crystalline sucrose approximately equal to five grams or one teaspoon.
  • n. Any of various small carbohydrates that are used by organisms to store energy.
  • n. A generic term for sucrose, glucose, fructose, etc.
  • n. A term of endearment.
  • n. A kiss.
  • n. Effeminacy in a male, often implying homosexuality.
  • n. Diabetes.
  • v. To add sugar to; to sweeten with sugar.
  • v. To make (something unpleasant) seem less so.
  • interj. Used in place of shit!

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sweet white (or brownish yellow) crystalline substance, of a sandy or granular consistency, obtained by crystallizing the evaporated juice of certain plants, as the sugar cane, sorghum, beet root, sugar maple, etc. It is used for seasoning and preserving many kinds of food and drink. Ordinary sugar is essentially sucrose. See the Note below.
  • n. By extension, anything resembling sugar in taste or appearance.
  • n. Compliment or flattery used to disguise or render acceptable something obnoxious; honeyed or soothing words.
  • intransitive v. In making maple sugar, to complete the process of boiling down the sirup till it is thick enough to crystallize; to approach or reach the state of granulation; -- with the preposition off.
  • transitive v. To impregnate, season, cover, or sprinkle with sugar; to mix sugar with.
  • transitive v. To cover with soft words; to disguise by flattery; to compliment; to sweeten.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To season, cover, sprinkle, mix, or impregnate with sugar.
  • Figuratively, to cover as with sugar; sweeten; disguise so as to render acceptable what is otherwise distasteful.
  • To sweeten something, as tea, with sugar.
  • To make (maple) sugar.
  • n. The general name of certain chemical compounds belonging to the group of carbohydrates.
  • n. A sweet crystalline substance, prepared chiefly from the expressed juice of the sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum, and of the sugar-beet, but obtained also from a great variety of other plants, as maple, maize, sorghum, birch, and parsnip.
  • n. Something that resembles sugar many of its properties.
  • n. Figuratively, sweet, honeyed, or soothing words; flattery employed to disguise something distasteful.
  • n. The coarse grains or dust of refined sugar formed during the operations of crushing or cutting loaf-sugar, and separated from the lumps by screening.

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

  • n. informal terms for money
  • v. sweeten with sugar
  • n. a white crystalline carbohydrate used as a sweetener and preservative
  • n. an essential structural component of living cells and source of energy for animals; includes simple sugars with small molecules as well as macromolecular substances; are classified according to the number of monosaccharide groups they contain


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

Middle English sugre, from Old French sukere, from Medieval Latin succārum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Persian shakar, from Sanskrit śarkarā, grit, ground sugar.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From later Old French çucre (circa 13th cent), from Medieval Latin zuccarum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic سُكّر (súkkar), from Persian شکر (šakar), from Sanskrit शर्करा (śárkarā, "ground or candied sugar"), originally 'grit, gravel', from Proto-Indo-European *ḱorkeh- (“gravel, boulder”), akin to Ancient Greek κρόκη (krókē, "pebble").



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  • As in give me a kiss.

    December 11, 2017

  • What about: give me some sugar?

    December 11, 2017

  • "Sugar was already versatile and important in late-medieval cuisine and medicine, but it was used in relatively small quantities because it was expensive. In Elizabethan England, average per capita sugar consumption was no more than a pound a year. It increased to four pounds a year in the seventeenth century, and by 1720 the average was at eight pounds. The present consumption of sugar in Britain is on the order of eighty pounds per year, and it is 126 pounds in the United States."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 219.

    "It was the 18th and 19th centuries that saw an incredible increase in sugar consumption as tea and sweets became affordable for the working class and fruit pies and tarts surpassed meat pies in popularity. Sugar was a leading source of nutrition for urban workers as well as omnipresent in middle-class rituals of gentility (English tea or German service of coffee and cake). One historian has even credited the entire English Industrial Revolution to the combination of cheap energy provided by sugar and the alertness afforded by the caffeine in the tea it accompanied." (p. 220)

    November 28, 2017

  • Not a spice, but on my list because it was considered one in the Middle Ages (as are a number of other non-spice items also on the list). See also comment on electuaries.

    "Beginning with the 18th century, sugar ceased to be considered a drug and changed from a mere food flavoring (what we understand as a spice) to an essential basic ingredient. At the same time, the end of medieval culinary practices meant that sweet dishes were separated from savory ones, so that the last course (dessert) came to be defined as sugary."

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 13.

    A note about how sugar was packed for long-distance transport/trade can be found on fondaci.

    October 9, 2017

  • "... the pound of sugar that lasted an entire year in Alice de Bryene's household in the early 1400s would hardly have been enough for one person in the sixteenth century."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 102

    January 9, 2017

  • money

    October 8, 2010

  • Etymology: The word is Sanskrit which is an Indo-Iranian language of the Indo-Aryan branch but Persian played a role in transmitting it. Middle English sugre, sucre, from Anglo-French sucre, from Medieval Latin saccharum, from Old Italian zucchero, from Arabic sukkar, from Pahlavi shakar, ultimately from Sanskrit sarkar

    August 31, 2009

  • When my birthday was coming

    Little Brother had a secret:

    He kept it for days and days

    And just hummed a little tune when I asked him.

    But one night it rained

    And I woke up and heard him crying:

    Then he told me.

    'I planted two lumps of sugar in your garden

    Because you love it so frightfully.

    I thought there would be a whole sugar tree for your birthday.

    And now it will all be melted.'

    O the darling.

    - Katherine Mansfield, 'Little Brother's Secret'.

    November 1, 2008

  • Especially amoung black people in the southern United States, sugar means affection, as in "Give me some sugar." By extension it can mean give me some sex.

    February 4, 2008

  • Captured at Yorktown, "3 hogsheads sugar, 3,000 lb."

    October 29, 2007