pen·ny·roy·al | \ˌpen-ē-ˈrȯi(-ə)l, ˈpe-ni-ˌrī(-ə)l \

Definition of pennyroyal 

1 : a European perennial mint (Mentha pulegium) with small aromatic leaves

2 : an aromatic North American mint (Hedeoma pulegioides) that has blue or violet flowers borne in axillary tufts and yields an oil used in folk medicine or to drive away mosquitoes

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Recent Examples on the Web

Anecdotal evidence shows that cats dislike the smell of lavender, pennyroyal, rue, lemon thyme and Coleus canina (also called scaredy cat plant). Kym Pokorny,, "How to keep cats out of your garden," 17 Apr. 2018 Among the essential oils that are toxic to pets are cinnamon, citrus, lemon, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, thyme, wintergreen and ylang ylang. Kim Campbell Thornton, sacbee, "Anxieties about veterinary visits can and should be addressed | The Sacramento Bee," 17 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pennyroyal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of pennyroyal

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pennyroyal

probably alteration of Anglo-French puliol real, from puliol pennyroyal (ultimately from Latin puleium) + real royal

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The first known use of pennyroyal was in 1530

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pen·ny·roy·al | \ˌpen-ē-ˈrȯi(-ə)l, ˈpen-i-ˌrīl \

Medical Definition of pennyroyal 

: any of several mints especially : an aromatic American mint (Hedeoma pulegioides) that yields pennyroyal oil

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