ac·​o·​nite | \ ˈa-kə-ˌnīt How to pronounce aconite (audio) \
plural aconites

Definition of aconite

1 : monkshood
2 : the dried poisonous tuberous root of a common monkshood (Aconitum napellus) used especially formerly for its medicinal properties (as in relieving pain)
3 : winter aconite … they began planting one million daffodil, crocus, and aconite bulbs.— Walter Karp

Examples of aconite in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Winter aconite, which reach 3 to 4 inches in height, is easy to grow and will prosper in full sun or dappled shade and will form large colonies, spreading by seed. Tim Johnson,, 4 Apr. 2021 Winter aconite will perform best if the soil moisture is more consistent year-round, versus dry during the dormant season, as many other spring-flowering bulbs prefer. Tim Johnson,, 4 Apr. 2021 Snowdrops have been flowering for a week, the aconite about to burst. Heather E. Goodman, The Christian Science Monitor, 22 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aconite.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of aconite

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for aconite

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Latin aconītum, borrowed from Greek akónīton, perhaps of pre-Greek substratal origin

Note: The notion in late antiquity that the word was derived from Greek akonit́ī "without dust," hence, "without a struggle, effortless," referring to the efficacy of the poison, is fanciful.

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The first known use of aconite was in 1548

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aconite violet

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Cite this Entry

“Aconite.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for aconite


ac·​o·​nite | \ ˈak-ə-ˌnīt How to pronounce aconite (audio) \

Medical Definition of aconite

1 : monkshood
2 : the dried tuberous root of a monkshood (Aconitum napellus) formerly used as a cardiac and respiratory sedative


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