worm·​wood | \ ˈwərm-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce wormwood (audio) \

Definition of wormwood

1 : artemisia especially : a European plant (Artemisia absinthium) that has silvery silky-haired leaves and drooping yellow flower heads and yields a bitter dark green oil used in absinthe
2 : something bitter or grievous : bitterness

Examples of wormwood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Absinthe contains three key ingredients: wormwood, anise, and fennel. John Debary, Bon Appétit, 23 Apr. 2021 Back then, absinthe was a simpler recipe, consisting of just wine infused with wormwood. John Debary, Bon Appétit, 23 Apr. 2021 Although there are different thoughts on who actually invented absinthe, according to one story it's believed that the first person to use wormwood to make absinthe was a woman in Switzerland by the name of Madame Henriod. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Apr. 2021 Artemisia annua, or sweet wormwood, a plant that belongs to the daisy family and whose extract is a standard treatment for malaria, is gathering attention among African politicians and some... Gabriele Steinhauser, WSJ, 12 May 2020 The remedy, which contains the Artemisia annua (Sweet wormwood) plant often used to treat malaria is being ordered by Tanzania, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Congo-Brazzaville. Daniel Ekonde, Quartz Africa, 5 May 2020 Artemisinin is derived from sweet wormwood, a plant used in traditional Chinese remedies. Time, 5 Mar. 2020 Tu, who studied traditional Chinese and herbal medicines, found a reference in ancient medical texts to using sweet wormwood to treat intermittent fevers -- a symptom of malaria. Lauren Kent, CNN, 28 Jan. 2020 Snowball Old-Fashioned: Caramelized pecan bourbon, spiced molasses syrup and wormwood bitters. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, 14 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of wormwood

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for wormwood

Middle English wormwode, folk-etymological alteration of warmode, wermod, going back to Old English wermōd, going back to West Germanic *wermōda- (whence Old Saxon wermōda, Old High German wermuota), perhaps going back to a derivative of a base *wermo- "bitter," dissimilated from dialectal Indo-European *(s)u̯eru̯o- (whence Welsh chwerw "bitter," Old Irish serb)

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The first known use of wormwood was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near wormwood

worm wire


wormwood oil

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Cite this Entry

“Wormwood.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wormwood. Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for wormwood



English Language Learners Definition of wormwood

: a plant that has a bitter taste


worm·​wood | \ ˈwərm-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce wormwood (audio) \

Medical Definition of wormwood

: artemisia sense 2 especially : a European plant (Artemisia absinthium) yielding a bitter slightly aromatic dark green oil used in absinthe

More from Merriam-Webster on wormwood

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about wormwood


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