Definitions

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

  • n. A perennial Eurasian plant (Potentilla erecta) having yellow flowers and astringent roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A low-growing herb (Potentilla erecta).

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A rosaceous herb (Potentilla Tormentilla), the root of which is used as a powerful astringent, and for alleviating gripes, or tormina, in diarrhea.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plant, Potentilla Tormentilla, of Europe and temperate Asia.

Etymologies

Middle English tormentille, from Medieval Latin tormentilla, feminine diminutive of Latin tormentum, torment (from its use as an analgesic); see torment.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Yellow flowers of tormentil star the turf, gorse bushes cast shadows, and stunted bracken adds a sickly smell to the sweetness of summer grass.

    Country diary: North Hill, Cornwall

  • Yellow celandine, tormentil, and cinquefoil gleam as the sun rests on them.

    Country diary: Millyford Bridge, New Forest

  • Common grazing is no longer controlled by regular burning, and gorse bushes encroach on turf starred with tormentil.

    Country diary: Bodmin Moor

  • By the little bridge itself the turf is spangled with yellow quadrants of tormentil – a miniature heathland potentilla the woody, red, astringent rhizome of which was much prized by the apothecaries.

    Country diary: Barmouth

  • Where life is somewhat improved, they are now made of leather tanned with oak bark, as in other places, or with the bark of birch, or roots of tormentil, a substance recommended in defect of bark, about forty years ago, to the Irish tanners, by one to whom the parliament of that kingdom voted a reward.

    A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland

  • What fine old names they have, great with the blended dignities of literary and rural lore; archangel, tormentil, rosa solis or sun-dew, horehound, Saracen's wound-wort, melilot or king's clover, pellitory of Spain!

    Apologia Diffidentis

  • The bracken, waist-high at first, was like small hoops at the top of the wood, where the tiny golden tormentil made a carpet and the yellow pimpernel was closing her eager eyes.

    Gone to Earth

  • The other contains prepared herbs which are useful as preventives -- tormentil, valerian, zedoary, angelica, and so forth; but I take it that pure vinegar is as good an antidote to infection as anything one can find.

    The Sign of the Red Cross

  • Their banks are bright with tormentil, blue with forget-me-not, rich in treasures of starry moss; the water is clear, cool in the hottest summer -- they rise under the shadow of the everlasting hills, and their goal is the sea.

    The Gray Brethren and Other Fragments in Prose and Verse

  • They made tea sometimes of the tormentil, whose little yellow flowers appear along the furrows.

    Round About a Great Estate

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