from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The seed of a fern; collectively, the seed-like bodies constituting the spores of ferns: formerly supposed to possess wonderful virtues, such as the power of rendering a person carrying it invisible.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • We will know what he really is — he shall not wear fern-seed, and walk among us invisible thus — what say you,

    Saint Ronan's Well

  • Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.

    The first part of King Henry the Fourth

  • We steal as in a castle, cocksure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.

    The first part of King Henry the Fourth

  • “We have the receipt of fern-seed; we walk invisible.”

    Tropic Days

  • I might as well have "had the receipt of fern-seed and walked invisible" for all the attention I excited.

    Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science Volume 17, No. 102, June, 1876

  • Thus the magic fern-seed and other treasure-disclosing vegetables [292] are surrogates of the mandrake, and like it derive their magical properties directly or indirectly from the pearl.

    The Evolution of the Dragon

  • You may have forgotten that fern-seed is the most subtle of eye-openers known to Fancy; and that it enables you to see the things that have existed only in your imagination.

    The Primrose Ring

  • Therefore I am forced to leave their part of the telling to Fancy, and you may believe or discredit as much or as little as you choose; only I am hoping that by this time you have acquired at least a sprinkling of fern-seed in your eyes.

    The Primrose Ring

  • This view is confirmed by a German story in which a hunter is said to have procured fern-seed by shooting at the sun on Midsummer Day at noon; three drops of blood fell down, which he caught in a white cloth, and these blood-drops were the fern-seed.

    Chapter 68. The Golden Bough

  • Thus it may be taken as probable that fern-seed is golden, because it is believed to be an emanation of the sun’s golden fire.

    Chapter 68. The Golden Bough

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.