mis·​tle·​toe | \ ˈmi-səl-ˌtō How to pronounce mistletoe (audio) , chiefly British ˈmi-zəl- \

Definition of mistletoe

: a European semiparasitic green shrub (Viscum album of the family Loranthaceae, the mistletoe family) with thick leaves, small yellowish flowers, and waxy-white glutinous berries broadly : any of various plants of the mistletoe family (as of an American genus Phoradendron) resembling the true mistletoe

Illustration of mistletoe

Illustration of mistletoe

Examples of mistletoe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Mistletoe Just over half of Americans say they have been kissed under the mistletoe at some point in their lives: 52% have, and 43% have not. CBS News, "CBS News Eye on Trends: The latest from the Election & Survey Unit," 7 Jan. 2020 Here’s the lowdown: These plants are poisonous and should never be ingested: ● chrysanthemum ● daffodil ● holly ● hyacinth ● ivy ● mistletoe● mountain laurel If your pet chews on any of these plants, contact your veterinarian immediately. Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: These plants are pretty … poisonous," 14 Dec. 2019 Some holiday traditions are evergreen: a family viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, a kiss under the mistletoe, hot chocolate in front of a cozy fire. Vogue, "’Tis the Season for Glittering Gifts," 10 Dec. 2019 Finish off with a light dusting of loose translucent powder applied with a small brush along the edges of the lips to guarantee a flake-free look that won’t budge—even through mistletoe kisses. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "How to Make Red Lipstick Stay On All Night Long," 24 Dec. 2019 Things got really exciting when Eichner pulled out the mistletoe and challenged New Yorkers to find someone to kiss. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Mariah Carey brings holiday spirit to unsuspecting New Yorkers during Billy on the Street appearance," 16 Dec. 2019 In 2009, a group of birders noticed a tiny, gray bird feeding on mistletoe in the canopy of a tropical forest in Borneo. Andrea Michelson, Smithsonian, "The Spectacled Flowerpecker Is Now Known to Science," 18 Oct. 2019 Etsy also has large selection of fresh and dried mistletoe decorations like the ones below. Katie Bourque, Good Housekeeping, "Here's Where to Buy Mistletoe for Storybook-Worthy Christmas Decor," 16 Oct. 2019 Next, stock up for mistletoe season with six new glitter lipsticks ($20 each) and five metallic and pearlescent lip glosses ($18.50 each). Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Exclusive: Here's Every Single Item in M.A.C.'s Holiday Collection," 7 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'mistletoe.' 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 mistletoe

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for mistletoe

Middle English mistilto, from Old English misteltān, from mistel mistletoe + tān twig; akin to Old High German & Old Saxon mistil mistletoe and to Old High German zein twig

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Time Traveler for mistletoe

Time Traveler

The first known use of mistletoe was before the 12th century

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Statistics for mistletoe

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Mistletoe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistletoe. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for mistletoe


How to pronounce mistletoe (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of mistletoe

: a plant with yellowish flowers and white berries that is traditionally used as a Christmas decoration


mis·​tle·​toe | \ ˈmi-səl-ˌtō How to pronounce mistletoe (audio) \

Kids Definition of mistletoe

: a plant with waxy white berries that grows on the branches and trunks of trees


mis·​tle·​toe | \ ˈmis-əl-ˌtō, chiefly British ˈmiz- \

Medical Definition of mistletoe

: any of various parasitic or semiparasitic plants (family Loranthaceae, the mistletoe family) that have thick leathery mostly opposite and sometimes scaly leaves and include some formerly used in preparations with oxytocic, antispasmodic, or heart-stimulating properties: as
a : a European semiparasitic green shrub (Viscum album) having somewhat poisonous leaves, stems, and waxy-white glutinous berries that have been used in folk medicine
b : any of various American plants (genus Phoradendron and especially P. serotinum synonym P. flavescens) resembling the true mistletoe of Europe

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More from Merriam-Webster on mistletoe

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with mistletoe

Spanish Central: Translation of mistletoe

Nglish: Translation of mistletoe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of mistletoe for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mistletoe

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