an herb (Nepeta cataria) of the mint family, with downy leaves and spikes of white or bluish flowers that are used in flavorings and tea: it has somewhat intoxicating effects on some cats
Origin of catnipcat + nip, dialect, dialectal for nep, catnip ; from Classical Latin nepeta
- A hairy aromatic perennial herb (Nepeta cataria) in the mint family, native to Eurasia and containing an aromatic oil to which cats are strongly attracted.
- Any of various other mostly aromatic plants of the genus Nepeta, cultivated for their ornamental foliage and clusters of blue, lavender, or white flowers.
Origin of catnipcat + nip, catnip (variant of nep, from Middle English nept, nep, from Old English nepte, from Latin nepeta, aromatic herb, perhaps of Etruscan origin).
(countable and uncountable, plural catnips)
- (botany) Any of the about 250 species of flowering plant of the genus Nepeta, family Lamiaceae, certain of which are said to have medicinal qualities.
- Nepeta cataria and Nepeta grandiflora (perhaps other species), which are well-known for causing an apparently harmless pheromone-based intoxication among certain cats.
- Some cats go bonkers over catnip; others ignore it.