devil's bit

noun

Definition of devil's bit 

: any of various plants with premorse rootstocks:

a or less commonly devil's bit scabious : scabious sense 1 especially : a common purple or white flowered scabious (Scabiosa succisa or Succisa pratensis) that is native to Europe but naturalized in eastern North America and that yields a blue dye from the leaves — compare woad

b : any of several New World blazing stars (such as Chamaelirium luteum, Liatris spicata, or Aletris farinosa) — compare button snakeroot, colicroot

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History and Etymology for devil's bit

Middle English develesbite (translation of Medieval Latin morsus diaboli), from develes (genitive of devel devil) + bite, bitt bit, bite

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