Definition of digitalis
1 : foxglove
2 : the dried powdered leaf of the common foxglove that contains glycosides which act on the heart and that is a powerful cardiotonic serving especially to increase the force of myocardial contraction; broadly : any of various cardiac glycosides (such as digitalin or digoxin) that are constituents of digitalis or are derived from a related foxglove (Digitalis lanata)
Recent Examples of digitalis from the Web
Weight-loss regimens included consuming soap, chalk, pickles, digitalis, camphor tea, grapefruit (which was thought to contain fat-dissolving enzymes), potassium acetate (a diuretic), and ipecac (which induces vomiting).
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'digitalis.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of digitalis
New Latin, genus name, from Latin, of a finger, from digitus; from its finger-shaped corolla
First Known Use: 1629See Words from the same year
Medical Definition of digitalis
1a capitalized : a genus of Eurasian herbs of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) that have alternate leaves and racemes of showy bell-shaped flowers and comprise the foxglovesb: foxglove
2: the dried leaf of the common European foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) that contains physiologically active glycosides, that is a powerful cardiotonic acting to increase the force of myocardial contraction, to slow the conduction rate of nerve impulses through the atrioventricular node, and to promote diuresis, and that is used in standardized powdered form especially in the treatment of congestive heart failure and in the management of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and paroxysmal tachycardia of the atria; broadly : any of various glycosides (as digoxin or digitoxin) that are constituents of digitalis or are derived from a related foxglove (D. lanata)
Learn More about digitalis
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about digitalis
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up digitalis? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).