Definition of spikenard in English:



  • 1historical [mass noun] A costly perfumed ointment much valued in ancient times.

    • ‘A daily glass of konditon, strong in spikenard, was recommended in March: anise wine was appropriate for April.’
    • ‘Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.’
    • ‘In Mark's account the woman is unnamed, and she anointed Christ's head with the spikenard, rather than His feet as in the above account by John.’
    • ‘Note the reference to spikenard in the Song of Solomon and in the Gospels.’
    • ‘The scent of spikenard, not to be confused with American spikenard, a stimulant, is, surprisingly, sedative, since it increases serotonin availability.’
  • 2The Himalayan plant of the valerian family that produces the rhizome from which spikenard was prepared.

    1. 2.1A plant resembling spikenard in fragrance.


Middle English: from medieval Latin spica nardi (see spike, nard), translating Greek nardostakhus.