Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A small Mediterranean plant (Anacyclus pyrethrum) containing a volatile oil once used for the relief of toothache and facial neuralgia.
  • n. Any of various monoecious plants of the genus Parietaria, having long narrow leaves with hairy tufts at the base and apetalous flowers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any plant of the genus Parietaria.
  • n. Achillea ptarmica, sneezewort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The common name of the several species of the genus Parietaria, low, harmless weeds of the Nettle family; -- also called wall pellitory, and lichwort.
  • n. A composite plant (Anacyclus Pyrethrum) of the Mediterranean region, having finely divided leaves and whitish flowers. The root is the officinal pellitory, and is used as an irritant and sialogogue. Called also bertram, and pellitory of Spain.
  • n. The feverfew (Chrysanthemum Parthenium); -- so called because it resembles the above.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A perennial weed, Parietaria officinalis; specifically, the wall-pellitory, a small bushy plant growing on old walls, etc., throughout the cooler parts of Europe and Asia.
  • n. The feverfew, Chrusanthemum parthenium (see feverfew); also, the other chrysanthemums of the group often classed as Phyrethrum. The sneezewort, Achillea Ptarmica, has been called wild or bastard pellitory.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. herb that grows in crevices having long narrow leaves and small pink apetalous flowers
  • n. a small Mediterranean plant containing a volatile oil once used to relieve toothache

Etymologies

Middle English peletre, peletori, from Old French piretre, peletre, from Latin pyrethrum; see pyrethrum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Probably a variant form of parietary. (Wiktionary)
Probably an alteration of pelleter, with change of ending after Etymology 1, above. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • ‘Needs must thou bring me a cooking-pot full of virgin vinegar and a pound of the herb pellitory called wound-wort.’

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Tufts of weeds outline the paving-stones; the walls are scored by enormous cracks, and the blackened coping is laced with a thousand festoons of pellitory.

    La Grand Breteche

  • This bas-relief was surmounted by a projecting plinth, upon which a variety of chance growths had sprung up, — yellow pellitory, bindweed, convolvuli, nettles, plantain, and even a little cherry-tree, already grown to some height.

    Eug�nie Grandet

  • At the end you come to a second gateway, a Gothic archway covered with simple ornament, now crumbling into ruin and overgrown with wildflowers — moss and ivy, wallflowers and pellitory.

    La Grenadiere

  • ‘We shall hardly,’ said he one morning to Waverley when they had been viewing the Castle — ‘we shall hardly gain the obsidional crown, which you wot well was made of the roots or grain which takes root within the place besieged, or it may be of the herb woodbind, parietaria, or pellitory; we shall not, I say, gain it by this same blockade or leaguer of Edinburgh Castle.’

    Waverley

  • The head from which Brother Mark's pellitory dressing had erased even the last drying sore of under-feeding and dirt burrowed comfortably into Joscelin's once-privileged shoulder, and he felt nothing but amused and indulgent affection.

    The Leper of Saint Giles

  • I was running out of the lotion of pellitory, and see how much good it's done for him!

    The Leper of Saint Giles

  • In cases of ordinary toothache, even severe ones, chewing a small piece of really good pellitory will often give relief in a few minutes.

    The Ladies Book of Useful Information Compiled from many sources

  • The wild mignonette hangs out its pale yellow spikes of blossoms, but without the fragrance for which its garden sister is so remarkable; and the common pellitory, a near ally of the nettle, which haunts all old ruins, clings in great masses to the crevices, its leaves and ignoble blossoms white with the dust of the road.

    Roman Mosaics Or, Studies in Rome and Its Neighbourhood

  • At the head of the Capo le Case is a small church, beside an old ruinous-looking wall of tufa, covered with shaggy pellitory and other plants, which might well have been one of the ramparts of ancient

    Roman Mosaics Or, Studies in Rome and Its Neighbourhood

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Comments

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  • Yes, it was where madeupical (which began life as a cousin to madeupatory) was inspired. I remember it well.... *feels nostalgic*

    Would you add skin rashes to that allergic reaction definition? The "pelli" part of the word reminds me of that (although I don't think that's etymologically correct).

    April 28, 2008

  • Oh my gosh. I completely forgot about that stunning list. Thanks for posting the link, sionnach. *wishes she could add entire list conversations to her "Conversations" list*

    April 28, 2008

  • catch-a-tory

    April 27, 2008

  • Didn't we used to have a 'catch-a-tory' list at some point?

    April 27, 2008

  • Also it sounds like predatory, so I'd be down with using it to mean "something that causes me to wheeze and cough." Nice one! (p.s. asthma sucks.)

    April 27, 2008

  • I know this is plant name noun, but I do think it's yearning, deep down in its little weedy heart, to adopt a useful function in the world as an adjective.

    I'm proposing "fiery and furious", based in part on the etymology and in part on feelings a particular variety of pellitory (the Parietaria judaica aka asthma weed) arouses in me.

    April 27, 2008