hel·​le·​bore | \ ˈhe-lə-ˌbȯr How to pronounce hellebore (audio) \

Definition of hellebore

1 : any of a genus (Helleborus) of poisonous Eurasian herbs of the buttercup family having showy flowers with petaloid sepals also : the dried rhizome of a hellebore (such as H. niger) formerly used in medicine
2 : a poisonous herb (genus Veratrum) of the lily family also : the dried rhizome of a hellebore (V. album or V. viride) that is used as an insecticide and contains toxic alkaloids that are cardiac and respiratory depressants

Examples of hellebore in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

One of the best one-two punches in the garden world, hellebores bloom from late December through April and come in a wide range of colors. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "When you see hellebore blooms in your garden, you know spring is here," 16 Mar. 2018 Other perennials, bulbs and ground covers: Bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis); sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum); snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis); hellebore (Helleborus); barrenwort (Epimedium); daylily (Hemerocallis); daffodil (Narcissus). Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Many plants die when grown near black walnut trees. These are the ones that survive.," 20 June 2018 Red Racer’, this time a Lenten rose or hellebore (Helleborus). Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Race-themed plants cross the finish line," 25 May 2018 Red Racer’ is one of the Winter Thriller series of hellebores (GreatGardenPlants.com, Monrovia.com) introduced by Chris Hansen of Michigan. Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp, Indianapolis Star, "The Hoosier Gardener: Race-themed plants cross the finish line," 25 May 2018 Celebrate opening weekend at Yew Dell with hellebore sales and plant walks, Garden Gift Shop opening, Fairy Forest Fun and more. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "It's opening weekend at Yew Dell - which means its spring, y'all!," 30 Mar. 2018 But the magnolia is in full glory; half the rhododendrons are going nuts with color; the daffodils (three kinds) have been blooming for weeks; the leptospermum and the hellebores and the hyacinths are exploding in their stately fashion. Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle, "Thoughts while plucking mummies, 1992," 28 Mar. 2018 The Daffodil Days event includes sale of epimediums, hydrangeas, potted daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, hellebores and Virginia bluebells. Lisa Peklo, Howard County Times, "Daffodil Day and egg hunts? It might as well be spring [West Friendship]," 22 Mar. 2018 For the winter garden, Green Ice hellebore catches the light in dry shade. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "Turn your flower garden green this St. Patrick's Day | The Sacramento Bee," 16 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of hellebore

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hellebore

Middle English elebre, from Anglo-French, from Latin elleborus, helleborus, from Greek helleboros

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The first known use of hellebore was in the 15th century

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hel·​le·​bore | \ ˈhel-ə-ˌbō(ə)r, -ˌbȯ(ə)r How to pronounce hellebore (audio) \

Medical Definition of hellebore

1a : any herb of the genus Helleborus
b : the dried roots and rhizome of any medicinal herb of the genus Helleborus (as black hellebore H. niger or green hellebore H. viridis) or a powder or extract of this used by the ancient Greeks and Romans in treating mental and other disorders
2a : any of several poisonous herbs of the genus Veratrum
b : the dried rhizome and roots of either of two hellebores of the genus Veratrum (the false hellebore V. viride of America and V. album of Europe) or a powder or extract of this containing alkaloids (as protoveratrine) used as a cardiac and respiratory depressant and also as an insecticide

called also veratrum, white hellebore

More from Merriam-Webster on hellebore

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hellebore

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hellebore

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a usually brief trip or an expedition

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