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A whole nutmeg
A nutmeg plant
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From Middle English notemege, notemuge, a partial translation of Medieval Latin nux muga, a variant of Medieval Latin nux muscata (musky nut). Compare also Old French nois mugede.

For the term used in various ball sports, see Wikipedia.


  • IPA(key): /ˈnʌt.mɛɡ/
  • (file)


nutmeg (countable and uncountable, plural nutmegs)

  1. An evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans) cultivated in the East Indies for its spicy seeds.
  2. The aromatic seed of this tree, used as a spice.
    1. (uncountable) The powdered seed, ready for use.
    2. (countable) A whole nutmeg seed.
  3. A small moth, Hadula trifolii, feeding on plants and native to the Northern Hemisphere.
  4. A grey-brown colour.
  5. (soccer, field hockey or ice hockey, basketball) The playing of the ball between the legs of an opponent.
    • 2017 November 10, Daniel Taylor, “Youthful England earn draw with Germany but Lingard rues late miss”, in The Guardian (London)[1]:
      The same applied to Loftus-Cheek, who grew into the game after a quiet start and even had the impudence to slip the ball through Marcel Halstenberg’s legs in the first half. Nutmegs aside, Loftus-Cheek also came up with one of England’s best passes of the night, sending Jamie Vardy through the middle at the end of the first half.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Irish: noitmig
  • Japanese: ナツメグ (natsumegu)
  • Maori: natimeke



nutmeg (third-person singular simple present nutmegs, present participle nutmegging, simple past and past participle nutmegged)

  1. (transitive) To flavour with nutmeg.
    She decided the eggnog was lacking in flavor, so she decided to nutmeg it heavily.
  2. (sports, transitive) To play the ball between the legs of (an opponent).
    • 2015 February 24, Daniel Taylor, “Luis Suárez strikes twice as Barcelona teach Manchester City a lesson”, in The Guardian (London)[2]:
      Barcelona did not just out play them, they emphatically put them in their place during that opening 45 minutes when Luis Suárez scored twice, Dani Alves struck the crossbar, Lionel Messi nutmegged David Silva and Manuel Pellegrini’s team stumbled to the interval like a side in need of smelling salts rather than half-time oranges.

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