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witch hazel

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noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

Simple Definition of witch hazel

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of witch hazel

  1. 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. 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

play
noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

Definition of witch hazel for Students

  1. 1 :  a shrub with small yellow flowers in late fall or early spring

  2. 2 :  a soothing alcoholic lotion made from the bark of the witch hazel



History for 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

play
noun witch ha·zel \ˈwich-ˌhā-zəl\

Medical Definition of witch hazel

  1. 1:  any small tree or shrub of the genus Hamamelis; especially :  one (Hamamelis virginiana) of eastern North America that blooms in the fall

  2. 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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