po·​lyg·​a·​la pə-ˈli-gə-lə How to pronounce polygala (audio)

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, genus name, going back to Latin, "milkwort," borrowed, with declensional change, from Greek polýgalon, from poly- poly- + -galon, derivative of galakt-, gála "milk" — more at galaxy

Note: The genus was introduced by linnaeus in Species plantarum (Stockholm, 1753), tomus 2, p. 701.

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of polygala was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near polygala

Cite this Entry

“Polygala.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polygala. Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


po·​lyg·​a·​la pə-ˈlig-ə-lə How to pronounce polygala (audio)
capitalized : a genus of herbs and shrubs (family Polygalaceae) of temperate and warm regions having many colored often showy flowers and including some (as the seneca snakeroot) which have been used in medicine
: any plant of the genus Polygala
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