her·​mo·​dac·​tyl | \ ˈhərməˌdaktᵊl \
variants: or hermodactylus \ ˌ⸗⸗ˈ⸗tələs \
plural hermodactyls\ -​tᵊlz \ or hermodactyli\ -​təˌlī \

Definition of hermodactyl

1 : a root formerly used as a cathartic or for the relief of gout that was probably derived from an Asiatic colchicum (Colchicum luteum) but has been often considered to be or confused with the root of the Mediterranean snake's-head iris
2 : a plant producing hermodactyls broadly : any of various colchicums — compare colchicine

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for hermodactyl

Medieval Latin hermodactylus, from Greek hermodaktylon, from hermo- (from Hermēs, messenger of the gods) + -daktylon (from daktylos finger)

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hermodactyl

Statistics for hermodactyl

Cite this Entry

“Hermodactyl.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hermodactyl. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Comments on hermodactyl

What made you want to look up hermodactyl? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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