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

  • n. A Eurasian perennial herb (Chrysanthemum balsamita) in the composite family, having aromatic foliage sometimes used for potpourri, tea, or flavoring.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An aromatic plant, of the genus Balsamita, once used to flavour ale (prior to the use of hops)

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A garden plant (Chrysanthemum Balsamita) having a strong balsamic smell, and nearly allied to tansy. It is used as a pot herb and salad plant and in flavoring ale and beer. Called also alecost.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A perennial plant, Tanacetum Balsamita, of the natural order Compositæ, a native of the south of Europe, long cultivated in gardens for the agreeable fragrance of its leaves.

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

  • n. tansy-scented Eurasian perennial herb with buttonlike yellow flowers; used as potherb or salad green and sometimes for potpourri or tea or flavoring; sometimes placed in genus Chrysanthemum
  • n. leaves used sparingly (because of bitter overtones) in sauces and soups and stuffings


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

Middle English costmarie : cost, costmary (from Old English, from Latin costum, from Greek kostos, from Sanskrit kuṣṭhaḥ) + marie, Mary, the mother of Jesus.


  • We got some marjoram and basil, some tarragon and bay leaves, some chamomile and mint, and some costmary.

    2008 July « Pennamite

  • Fennel-flower, which belongs to the natural order Ranunculaceæ, or crowfoot family, is a candidate for admission to the seed sodality; costmary and southernwood of the Compositæ seek membership with the leaf faction; rue of the

    Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses

  • Plants such as spearmint, lemon balm, English lavender, costmary and pennyroyal were used for making potpourri, warding away bugs and for "freshening the breath."

    News & Record Article Feed


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  • "Medieval cooks used aromatics that have since fallen from favour: borage with its hairy leaves that taste of cucumber or the medicinal costmary, also used to repel moths."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 54

    January 7, 2017