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 the Appendix of Indo-European roots + penthos, grief; see kwent(h)- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
ne·penthe·an (-thē-ən) adj.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.