Etymology
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agave (n.)
American aloe plant, 1797, from Latin Agave, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble, illustrious," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from agasthai "wonder at," from gaiein "to rejoice, exult," with intensive prefix a-. The name seems to have been taken generically by botanists, the plant perhaps so called for its "stately" flower stem.
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Aglaia 
name of one of the Graces, Greek, literally "splendor, beauty, brightness," from aglaos "splendid, beautiful, bright," which is of unknown origin (probably connected with agauos "noble, illustrious;" see agave), + abstract noun ending -ia.
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mescal (n.)

"plant of the genus Agave," found in deserts of Mexico and southwestern U.S., especially the American aloe, or maguey plant, 1702, from Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl (Aztecan) mexcalli "fermented drink made from agave," from metl "agave" + ixcalli "stew." Meaning "intoxicating liquor from fermented juice (pulque) of the agave" is attested in English from 1828. Also the name of a small desert cactus (peyote) found in northern Mexico and southern Texas (1885).

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maguey (n.)

"agave plant, the American aloe," 1550s, from Spanish, from Taino (Arawakan), a native Haitian language.

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pulque (n.)

fermented drink in Mexico and parts of Central America made from the juice of the agave, 1690s, from American Spanish pulque, a word of unknown origin, said to be a word from Araucanian (native language spoken in part of Chile), or else from some language of Mexico.

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aloe (n.)
name of a group of shrubs or herbs with spiky flowers and thick leaves, yielding bitter juice which was used as a purgative drug, late 14c., originally in reference to the drug, from Latin aloe, from Greek aloe, which is of uncertain origin, probably a loan-word from an Oriental language.

A secondary sense is older in English: "Fragrant resin or heartwood of an East Indian tree" (Old English alewe, aloe), which is from misuse of Latin/Greek aloe in Biblical translations for Hebrew akhalim (plural), which ultimately is perhaps from a Dravidian language. OED says the Greek word probably was chosen for sound-resemblance to the Hebrew one.

The word was then misapplied in 1680s to the American agave plant, which is similar but unrelated. The "true aloe" (producing the drug) consequently is called aloe vera (with Latin vera "true;" see very). Related: Aloetic.
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