American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. See sheep laurel.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The sheep-laurel, Kalmia angustifolia.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A small American ericaceous shrub (Kalmia angustifolia), resembling mountain laurel but having narrower leaves and small red flowers; -- called also
calfkill, sheepkill, sheep laurel, etc. It is supposed to poison young sheep and other animals that eat it at times when the snow is deep and they cannot find other food.
- n. North American dwarf shrub resembling mountain laurel but having narrower leaves and small red flowers; poisonous to young stock
- lamb + kill (Wiktionary)
- From its poisonous effect on sheep. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Botany cannot go farther than tell me the names of the shrubs which grow there — the high blueberry, panicled andromeda, lambkill, azalea, and rhodora — all standing in the quaking sphagnum.”
“Through what some would consider rough woods and bleak pasture land, in a little sheep-track, crooked and sometimes steep, over her hung like a white cloud the wild thorn tree, large golddusted cymes of viburnums, rose-blooming lambkill, and other sorts, suggested all she knew, and more than she knew, of the Gardens of Princes.”
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