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noun (1)

daph·​ne ˈdaf-nē How to pronounce daphne (audio)
: any of a genus (Daphne) of Eurasian shrubs of the mezereon family with apetalous flowers whose colored calyx resembles a corolla


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noun (2)

Daph·​ne ˈdaf-nē How to pronounce Daphne (audio)
: a nymph in Greek mythology who is transformed into a laurel tree to escape the pursuing Apollo

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
During a heat wave, protect the daphne by rigging temporary shade for as long as necessary. oregonlive, 20 Feb. 2022 There are so many winter fragrant shrubs worth a look — and sniff Deciduous, somewhat tropical looking daphne relative Chinese paper bush (edgeworthia), which makes a fine border companion with later blooming rhododendrons. oregonlive, 30 Jan. 2020 Roger, Eric, and Marjory Gossler of Gossler Farms Nursery in Springfield are collectively familiar with some 6,000 plant varieties, including several dozen daphne cultivars. oregonlive, 30 Jan. 2020 No garden should be without hellebores or a daphne or two, winterberry hollies and witch hazels. Washington Post, 20 Nov. 2019 These include forsythias, silver sagebrush (Artemisia cana), white forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum), winter daphnes, winter jasmine, and witch hazels. Thad Orr, Sunset, 22 Jan. 2018 Here, the space is enveloped by a small shade garden planted as a ring of hostas, ferns, daphne and a massive jasmine plant. Amy Pennington, The Seattle Times, 19 May 2019 Pieris, rosemary, lavender and Daphne odora and other winter daphne are also low-maintenance. OregonLive.com, 24 Feb. 2018 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, laurel, from Greek daphnē

Noun (2)

Latin, from Greek Daphnē

First Known Use

Noun (1)

circa 1841, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of daphne was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near daphne

Cite this Entry

“Daphne.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/daphne. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


daph·​ne ˈdaf-(ˌ)nē How to pronounce daphne (audio)
capitalized : a genus of Eurasian shrubs (family Thymelaeaceae) that have often fragrant flowers without petals and that include the mezereon
: a plant of the genus Daphne

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