Saint-John's-wort

noun \ ˈsānt-ˈjänz-ˌwərt , -ˌwȯrt \

Definition of Saint-John's-wort

1 :any of a large genus (Hypericum of the family Guttiferae, the Saint-John's-wort family) of cosmopolitan herbs and shrubs with showy pentamerous yellow flowers
2 :the dried aerial parts of a Saint-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum) that are held to relieve depression and are used in herbal remedies and dietary supplements

Illustration of saint-john's-wort

Origin and Etymology of saint-john's-wort

St. John the Baptist


Medical Dictionary

Saint-John's-wort

noun \ -ˈjänz-ˌwərt, -ˌwȯ(ə)rt \

medical Definition of Saint-John's-wort

1 :any of a genus (Hypericum of the family Guttiferae, the Saint-John's-wort family) of herbs and shrubs with showy yellow flowers; especially :one (H. perforatum) of dry soil, roadsides, pastures, and ranges that contains a photodynamic pigment causing dermatitis due to photosensitization in sheep, cattle, horses, and goats when ingested — see hypericism
2 usually Saint John's wort :the dried aerial parts of a Saint-John's-wort (Hypericum perforatum) that are held to relieve depression and are used in herbal remedies and dietary supplements

Biographical Note for saint-john's-wort

  • John the Baptist \-ˈbap-təst\, Saint (flourished 1st century AD), Jewish prophet. John lived approximately at the same time as Jesus Christ. He is considered by Christians the last of the Jewish prophets and the forerunner of Christ. John preached the imminence of God's Final Judgment and the Messiah. He baptized his followers as a token of repentance, and Jesus himself received his rite of baptism. He was executed by Herod Antipas for publicly opposing the latter's marriage to Herodias. Saint-John's-wort derives its name from the fact that it was traditionally gathered on the eve of his feast day (June 24) and used to ward off evil spirits and as a medicinal herb.
  • Illustration of saint-john's-wort


    Learn More about saint-john's-wort


    Seen and Heard

    What made you want to look up Saint-John's-wort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

    Love words? Need even more definitions?

    Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

    WORD OF THE DAY

    to praise usually to excess

    Get Word of the Day daily email!

    Test Your Vocabulary

    Find the Cousins

    • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
    • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
    Name That Thing

    Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

    TAKE THE QUIZ
    Word Winder's CrossWinder

    Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

    TAKE THE QUIZ

    Love words? Need even more definitions?

    Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!