dig·​i·​tal·​is | \ ˌdi-jə-ˈta-ləs How to pronounce digitalis (audio) also -ˈtā- How to pronounce digitalis (audio) \

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)

Examples of digitalis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 19th century, for example, they were used to study digitalis dosing. National Geographic, 9 Oct. 2019 Though most digitalis plants found in U.S. gardens may not contain enough of the chemical to be lethal, Soejarto says don’t self-medicate with this plant. Cindy Dampier,, 25 July 2019 Fascinating bits of history are included throughout, including the suggestion that one such drug—digitalis, or foxglove, formerly used to treat epilepsy—may have caused a yellowing of vision in Van Gogh, affecting the colors in his paintings. Barbara Paul Robinson, WSJ, 11 Apr. 2018 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). Jerome Groopman, The New Yorker, 24 Mar. 2017

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.

First Known Use of digitalis

1629, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for digitalis

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, of a finger, from digitus; from its finger-shaped corolla

Learn More About digitalis

Time Traveler for digitalis

Time Traveler

The first known use of digitalis was in 1629

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near digitalis




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for digitalis

Cite this Entry

“Digitalis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for digitalis


dig·​i·​tal·​is | \ -əs How to pronounce digitalis (audio) \

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 foxgloves
b : 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)

More from Merriam-Webster on digitalis Encyclopedia article about digitalis


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!