ver·​vain ˈvər-ˌvān How to pronounce vervain (audio)
: any of a genus (Verbena of the family Verbenaceae, the vervain family) of chiefly American plants having bracted spicate flowers, a corolla with a 5-lobed limb, and a fruit that separates into four nutlets

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Hummingbirds slid their noses into plantain lily hostas and delicate stems of purpletop vervain. Betsy Vereckey, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2022 While filled with plenty of angst and fangs, the series managed to create multiple memorable items perfect for gift-giving, from Elena’s vervain necklace to the Salvatores' daylight rings. Abby Dupes, Seventeen, 30 Aug. 2022 Joe-Pye weed, boneset and blue vervain bloom nicely in wetlands. Star Tribune, 29 July 2021 Blue vervain has been a really powerful ally for friends on the frontlines, especially for organizers. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, 6 Aug. 2020 Wildflowers and shady pines (Photo: Mare Czinar/Special for The Republic) Watch for swarms of butterflies and bees drawing nectar from Butter and Eggs flowers, New Mexican vervain and field bindweed blooms. Mare Czinar, azcentral, 5 July 2018 In the garden, blue vervain plants attract butterflies, bumblebees and other pollinators., 16 May 2017 Sun: Full Soil moisture: Average to moist Height: Four to six feet Deer resistant: Yes Comments: Blue vervain is a traditional medicinal herb, with the roots, leaves or flowers used to treat conditions., 16 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vervain.' 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 verveine "the plant Verbena officinalis," borrowed from Anglo-French vervenne, verveyne, going back to Latin verbēna "leafy branch used ceremonially or medicinally," going back to *verbes-na, derivative of an s-stem noun *verbes-, whence Latin verbera (plural) "bundle of sticks used for flogging, blows"; akin to Croatian & Serbian vŕba "willow," Lithuanian virbas "twig, rod"

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vervain was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near vervain

Cite this Entry

“Vervain.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

Medical Definition


ver·​vain ˈvər-ˌvān How to pronounce vervain (audio)
: any of a genus (Verbena of the family Verbenaceae, the vervain family) of plants including several (as V. hastata) formerly used as medicinal herbs
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