mis·​tle·​toe ˈmi-səl-ˌtō How to pronounce mistletoe (audio)
 chiefly British  ˈmi-zəl-
: 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 Looks like Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce may have been under some mistletoe recently. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 12 Dec. 2023 While researchers observed the stickiness of the mistletoe seeds, more questions remain about the gluey material. Elizabeth Gamillo, Discover Magazine, 23 Dec. 2023 Hang mistletoe in your entryway, and around your home. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 12 Nov. 2023 Rituals like burning a yule log and hanging a sprig of mistletoe were traditions practiced since Anglo-Saxon and Celtic prehistory. Emilie Le Beau Lucchesi, Discover Magazine, 20 Dec. 2023 The sheer volume of engagements at this time of year also offers you ample opportunity to have some sort of romantic liaison under the mistletoe. Olivia Petter, Vogue, 19 Dec. 2023 Its formula is designed to stay put through holiday meals, mistletoe moments, and late-night caroling, ensuring that your lips remain vibrant and eye-catching throughout the season’s activities. Poppy Morgan, Rolling Stone, 21 Nov. 2023 Starbucks’ classic holiday coffee blend, which is made with its signature flavor notes from Latin American and Indonesian coffee plants, has kept the bright red Christmas packaging, but done away with the mistletoe art in favor of golden bokeh lights. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 24 Oct. 2023 This bundle includes a variety of festive prints, including stripes, candy canes, plaid, mistletoe, and more. Lauren Taylor, Southern Living, 1 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History


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

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near mistletoe

Cite this Entry

“Mistletoe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistletoe. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


mis·​tle·​toe ˈmis-əl-ˌtō How to pronounce mistletoe (audio)
: a European plant with yellowish flowers and waxy white berries that grows on the branches and trunks of trees
also : any of various related plants that resemble the mistletoe

Medical Definition


ˈmis-əl-ˌtō, chiefly British ˈmiz-
: 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 European semiparasitic green shrub (Viscum album) having somewhat poisonous leaves, stems, and waxy-white glutinous berries that have been used in folk medicine
: 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

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