Definition of nopal in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈnəʊp(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /ˈnəʊpal/


1A cactus which is a major food plant of the bugs from which cochineal is obtained.
  • Genus Nopalea, family Cactaceae: several species, in particular N. cochinellifera.
Example sentences
  • The Aztecs cultivated cochineal, a tiny insect that lived on the native nopal cactus and produced a red dye that was the brightest and strongest color Europe had ever seen.
  • Cochineal - a red dye made from insects harvested from the nopal cactus - was the most lucrative export item after silver that Spain extracted from Mexico during the colonial period.
1.1 (nopales nəʊˈpɑːlɛz) The edible fleshy pads of the nopal cactus, used in Mexican cuisine.
Example sentences
  • The plant produces flat, round pads (sometimes called nopales or nopalitos), which in some locales are sold in grocery stores for consumption.
  • Canned nopales (plain, or in brine or a vinegar pickle) are available.
  • There are stacks of mangoes and piles of nopales, baskets of dried chiles and vats of mole paste.


Mid 18th century: via French and Spanish from Nahuatl nopalli 'cactus'.

Words that rhyme with nopal

Constantinople, copal, opal, Opel

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: nopal

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