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
Recent Examples of mistletoe from the Web
Only Rhipsalis baccifera, the mistletoe cactus, managed to migrate prehistorically to Africa, Madagascar and Sri Lanka, its fruit presumably carried overseas by birds.
There's a man rushing to Gatwick north terminal with a bunch of mistletoe & nothing else.
In Britain, Druids observed the solstice by cutting mistletoe.
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.
Origin and Etymology of 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
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
MISTLETOE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of mistletoe for English Language Learners
: a plant with yellowish flowers and white berries that is traditionally used as a Christmas decoration
MISTLETOE Defined for Kids
Definition of mistletoe for Students
: a plant with waxy white berries that grows on the branches and trunks of trees
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: asa: a European semiparasitic green shrub (Viscum album) having somewhat poisonous leaves, stems, and waxy-white glutinous berries that have been used in folk medicineb: any of various American plants (genus Phoradendron and especially P. serotinum synonym P. flavescens) resembling the true mistletoe of Europe
Seen and Heard
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