One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1literary mass noun A drug described in Homer's Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person's mind.
drug, narcotic, mind-altering drug, sedative, tranquillizer, depressant, sleeping pill, soporific, anaesthetic, painkiller, analgesic, anodyneView synonyms
- ‘Alcohol and morphine - nepenthe means numbing the soul, numbing your soul.’
- ‘Its contents, the nepenthes as administered by Helen to her guests to instill joy, have been consumed.’
- ‘They have all drunk the supply-side nepenthe - and simply don't care to hear any debate on this subject.’
- 1.1 A drug or potion bringing welcome forgetfulness.
- ‘More, Freddy frames Lori's father for the murder of Lori's mother (by stabbing, of course), while Lori's father compounds the tension by offering nepenthe, Suspicion-style: ‘At least drink your juice!’’
- ‘Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!’
2A plant of a genus that comprises the Old World pitcher plants.
Via Latin from Greek nēpenthēs ‘dispelling pain’, from nē- ‘not’ + penthos ‘grief’; sense 2 is from modern Latin.
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