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1. A drug mentioned in the Odyssey as a remedy for grief.
2. Something that induces forgetfulness of sorrow or eases pain.

[Alteration of Latin nēpenthes, from Greek nēpenthes (pharmakon), grief-banishing (drug), nepenthe, neuter of nēpenthēs : nē-, not; see ne in Indo-European roots + penthos, grief; see kwent(h)- in Indo-European roots.]

ne·pen′the·an (-thē-ən) adj.


1. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) a drug, or the plant providing it, that ancient writers referred to as a means of forgetting grief or trouble
2. anything that produces sleep, forgetfulness, or pleasurable dreaminess
[C16: via Latin from Greek nēpenthes sedative made from a herb, from nē- not + penthos grief]
neˈpenthean adj


(nɪˈpɛn θi)

n., pl. -thes.
1. a drug or drink, or the plant yielding it, mentioned by ancient writers as having the power to bring forgetfulness of sorrow or trouble.
2. anything inducing a pleasurable sensation of forgetfulness, esp. of sorrow or trouble.
[1590–1600; < Latin nēpenthes < Greek nēpenthés herb for soothing, n. use of neuter of nēpenthḗs sorrowless =nē- not + -penthēs, adj. derivative of pénth(os) sorrow]
ne•pen′the•an, adj.
References in periodicals archive ?
56), promising nepenthean forgetfulness, easeful dreams, and peaceful sleep to the weary sailors who no longer want to be "ever climbing up the climbing wave" (1.