mandrake

noun

man·​drake ˈman-ˌdrāk How to pronounce mandrake (audio)
1
a
: a Mediterranean herb (Mandragora officinarum) of the nightshade family with large ovate leaves, greenish-yellow or purple flowers, and a large usually forked root resembling a human in form and formerly credited with magical properties
b
: the root of a mandrake formerly used especially to promote conception, as a cathartic, or as a narcotic and soporific
2

Illustration of mandrake

Illustration of mandrake
  • mandrake 1

Examples of mandrake in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Advocate Children's Hospital shared some of the special costumes on Facebook Wednesday, with costumes including a giraffe, a mandrake from Harry Potter, twin crayons, ketchup and mustard and so many more cute creations, all made by the families of the patients in the spirit of the holiday. Angela Andaloro, Peoplemag, 20 Oct. 2022 In 1544, the Italian botanist and physician Pietro Mattioli was the first to formally classify the plant, likening it to a cross between mandrake and deadly nightshade—both poisonous. Francesco Lastrucci, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Feb. 2021 Create mandrakes to take home and don't forget your earmuffs. Julie A. Short/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, 26 Feb. 2018 In the herbology section, there are ancient manuscripts on mandrakes, plants with roots that look humanlike. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'mandrake.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, probably alteration of mandragora

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of mandrake was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near mandrake

Cite this Entry

“Mandrake.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mandrake. Accessed 14 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

mandrake

noun
man·​drake ˈman-ˌdrāk How to pronounce mandrake (audio)
1
: a Mediterranean herb of the nightshade family that has a large forked root resembling a human being in form and was once thought to have magical properties
also : the root itself
2

Medical Definition

mandrake

noun
man·​drake ˈman-ˌdrāk How to pronounce mandrake (audio)
1
a
: a Mediterranean solanaceous herb of the genus Mandragora (M. officinarum) that has greenish yellow or purple flowers, globose yellow fruits formerly supposed to have aphrodisiac properties, and a large usually forked root resembling a human in form and formerly credited with magical properties
b(1)
: the root of this plant that contains hyoscyamine and was formerly used especially to promote conception, as a cathartic, or as a narcotic and soporific
(2)
: a solution of mandrake root (as in wine) formerly used as a narcotic
2

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