devil's bit


: any of various plants with premorse rootstocks:
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
: any of several New World blazing stars (such as Chamaelirium luteum, Liatris spicata, or Aletris farinosa) compare button snakeroot, colicroot

Word History


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

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Dictionary Entries Near devil's bit

Cite this Entry

“Devil's bit.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

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