Dictionary

witch hazel

noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

: a lotion that is made from the bark of a plant and that is used to heal the skin

Full Definition of WITCH HAZEL

1
:  any of a genus (Hamamelis of the family Hamamelidaceae, the witch-hazel family) of shrubs or small trees with slender-petaled usually yellow flowers borne in late fall or early spring; especially :  one (H. virginiana) of eastern North America that blooms in the fall
2
:  an alcoholic solution of a distillate of the bark of a witch hazel (H. virginiana) used as a soothing and mildly astringent lotion

Origin of WITCH HAZEL

witch, a tree with pliant branches, from Middle English wyche, from Old English wice; probably akin to Old English wīcan to yield — more at weak
First Known Use: circa 1760

Rhymes with WITCH HAZEL

WITCH HAZEL Defined for Kids

witch hazel

noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

Definition of WITCH HAZEL for Kids

1
:  a shrub with small yellow flowers in late fall or early spring
2
:  a soothing alcoholic lotion made from the bark of the witch hazel

Word History of WITCH HAZEL

The witch in witch hazel has nothing to do with sorcery, but is rather a now uncommon word meaning shrub with pliable branches. It goes back to Old English wice, which may be related to modern English weak. As for the better-known witch meaning sorceress, it goes back to Old English wicce, a counterpart to the masculine noun wicca, sorcerer.
Medical Dictionary

witch hazel

noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

Medical Definition of WITCH HAZEL

1
:  any small tree or shrub of the genus Hamamelis; especially :  one (Hamamelis virginiana) of eastern North America that blooms in the fall
2
:  an alcoholic solution of a distillate of the bark of a witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) used as a soothing and mildly astringent lotion

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