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 Fruit-bearing thornbush, wolfberry and invasive mistletoe attract birds including cactus wrens, phainopeplas, mockingbirds and doves while rabbits, squirrels and lizards scurry among jojoba bushes and many species of cholla cactus. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 25 Mar. 2022 Mesquite is the most common tree in our area for mistletoe to prey upon. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, 28 Jan. 2022 There will be no mistletoe for Kyle Richards this year. Kelly Wynne, PEOPLE.com, 10 Dec. 2021 In one scene in the video, Glenn, who is gay and is a former member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, holds up a sprig of mistletoe. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Nov. 2021 Swallowing American mistletoe can cause an upset stomach. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, 21 Dec. 2021 Dee and Keith sell mistletoe at the end of the driveway for $1. oregonlive, 14 Dec. 2021 Eating the berries off a mistletoe plant seems to have fallen out of tradition in recent years, though, and perhaps rightfully so. Jay Cannon, USA TODAY, 21 Dec. 2021 Right up there with Christmas trees and mistletoe, hollies are the plants most closely connected with any holiday on the American calendar. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 4 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near mistletoe

mistle thrush


mistletoe bird

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Statistics for mistletoe

Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Mistletoe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistletoe. Accessed 6 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for mistletoe


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

More from Merriam-Webster on 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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