Etymology
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catnip (n.)

1712, American English, from cat (n.) + nip, from Old English nepte "catnip," from Latin nepta, name of an aromatic herb. The older name is Middle English catmint (mid-13c.). So called because cats are fond of it.

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Definitions of catnip

catnip (n.)
hairy aromatic perennial herb having whorls of small white purple-spotted flowers in a terminal spike; used in the past as a domestic remedy; strongly attractive to cats;
Synonyms: catmint / Nepeta cataria
From wordnet.princeton.edu