from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A poisonous perennial herb (Atropa belladonna) native to Eurasia and northern Africa and naturalized in parts of North America, having nodding, purplish-brown, bell-shaped flowers and glossy black berries.
  • noun An alkaloidal extract or tincture derived from this plant and used in medicine.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A plant, Atropa Belladonna, or deadly nightshade, natural order Solanaceæ, a native of central and southern Europe.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An herbaceous European plant (Atropa belladonna) with reddish bell-shaped flowers and shining black berries. The whole plant and its fruit are very poisonous, and the root and leaves are used as powerful medicinal agents. Its properties are largely due to the alkaloid atropine which it contains. Called also deadly nightshade.
  • noun A species of Amaryllis (Amaryllis belladonna); the belladonna lily.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a plant, Atropa belladonna, having purple bell-shaped flowers and poisonous black glossy berries; deadly nightshade
  • noun an alkaloid extracted from this plant, sometimes used medicinally, containing atropine

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

  • noun an alkaloidal extract or tincture of the poisonous belladonna plant that is used medicinally
  • noun perennial Eurasian herb with reddish bell-shaped flowers and shining black berries; extensively grown in United States; roots and leaves yield atropine


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

[Italian : bella, feminine of bello, beautiful (from Latin bellus; see deu- in Indo-European roots) + donna, lady; see Donna (the plant perhaps being so called because women of Italian courts during the Renaissance are said to have used the juice of belladonna berries to make their eyes more attractive by dilating their pupils) .]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Italian bella donna, literally 'beautiful lady', altered by folk etymology from Medieval Latin bladona 'nightshade', from Gaulish. The folk etymology was motivated by the cosmetic use of nightshade for dilating the eyes.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word belladonna.



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

  • from the deadly nightshade family

    June 22, 2009

  • Usage on aconite.

    July 7, 2009

  • A strain of medicinal cannabis.

    January 15, 2010

  • A single leaf is lethal. The berries of the plant are the most dangerous. Consumption of ten berries is enough to kill an adult.

    February 27, 2015