Definitions

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

  • n. Any of several aromatic plants of the genus Artemisia, especially A. absinthium, native to Europe, yielding a bitter extract used in making absinthe and in flavoring certain wines.
  • n. Something harsh or embittering.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An intensely bitter herb (various plants in genus Artemisia) used in the production of absinthe and vermouth, and as a tonic.
  • n. Anything that causes bitterness or affliction.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A composite plant (Artemisia Absinthium), having a bitter and slightly aromatic taste, formerly used as a tonic and a vermifuge, and to protect woolen garments from moths. It gives the peculiar flavor to the cordial called absinthe. The volatile oil is a narcotic poison. The term is often extended to other species of the same genus.
  • n. Anything very bitter or grievous; bitterness.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A. somewhat woody perennial herb, Artemisia Absinthium, native in Europe and Asiatic Russia, found in old gardens and by roadsides in North America.
  • n. Figuratively
  • n. Bitterness.
  • n. By transference of the name, the common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiæfolia, a bitter plant with foliage dissected somewhat like that of an artemisia.

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

  • n. any of several low composite herbs of the genera Artemisia or Seriphidium

Etymologies

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

Middle English wormwode, alteration (influenced by worm, worm, and wode, wood, perhaps from the use of its leaves as a vermifuge) of wermod, from Old English wermōd, from Germanic *wermōdaz.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English wormwode, alteration of wermode ("wormwood"), from Old English wermōd, wormōd ("wormwood, absinthe"), from Proto-Germanic *wermōdaz (“wormwood”). Cognate with Middle Low German wermode, wermede ("wormwood"), German Wermut ("wormwood"). See vermouth.

Examples

  • [ "Make wormwood wine thus: take _aqua vitæ_ and malmsey, of each like much, put it in a glasse or bottell with _a few leaves of dried wormwood_, and let it stand certain days,] and strein out a little spoonfull, and drink it with a draught of ale or wine: [it may be long preserved.]" [

    Notes and Queries, Number 72, March 15, 1851 A Medium of Inter-communication for Literary Men, Artists, Antiquaries, Genealogists, etc.

  • In Europe, however, this isn't the case; "wormwood" is used only for the absinth-producing species, Artemisia absinthium.

    A star called Mugwort

  • The myth of absinthe's mind-altering properties is based on the idea that a chemical in wormwood called thujone causes hallucinations and other mental instability, and even addiction.

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • Dr. Magnan would later blame the chemical thujone, contained in wormwood, for these effects. [wiki]

    Archive 2008-07-01

  • No wonder your home brew tasted awful: wormwood is exceedingly bitter.

    The Rise and Fall of the Green Fairy

  • Confusing mugwort with wormwood is at the level of confusing potato (Solanum tuberosum) with black nightshade (Solanum nigrum) because they share the genus Solanum.

    A star called Mugwort

  • Yes, I recall the wormwood, which is always a planted herb, so there must have been folks there before the Todds 'day.

    Poor Joanna

  • Among the ingredients they searched for was thujone, a substance found in wormwood that some have claimed existed in higher quantities in pre-ban absinthe than in the modern stuff, and might have caused effects that we don’t see today.

    The green fairy loses her mystique

  • The drink had been a nineteenth-century fad with a bad rep because an herbal ingredient called wormwood had a marijuana-like effect.

    Silver Zombie

  • Well, it is a type of Artemisia, commonly called wormwood one species of which is also known as Absinthe, and it is used in herbal preparations and Asian cuisine – in fact, one of my favorite foods is buckwheat Soba flavored with the fresh leafiness of Mugwort, which gives a really interesting greenish tint to the noodles.

    Archive 2008-12-01

Comments

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  • Calvin's teacher.

    April 15, 2009

  • Not from worm + wood. The medial -w- first appears around 1400; the earlier English was wermod, of unknown etymology. The German form Wermuth (modern Wermut) gives us vermouth via French.

    April 15, 2009

  • As opposed to woodworm?

    November 25, 2007