Definition of nopal in English:


Translate nopal into Spanish

nounplural noun nopales/-ˈpäles/

  • 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

    ‘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. 1.1nopalesThe edible fleshy pads of the nopal cactus, used as a staple in Mexican cuisine.
      ‘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.’



/ˈnōpəl/ /ˈnoʊpəl/


Late 16th century via Spanish from Nahuatl nopalli ‘cactus’.