wormwood

noun

worm·​wood ˈwərm-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce wormwood (audio)
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 The key ingredients in absinthe are anise, fennel, and—most importantly—wormwood. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 8 Mar. 2024 The ingredients vary, but generally include quinine, wormwood, citrus peel, vanilla, gentian root, thyme, ginger, and baking spices. Jason Wilson, Travel + Leisure, 3 Dec. 2023 The table is offered in either rustic wormwood or a darker ebony rustic. Shannon Quimby, Better Homes & Gardens, 31 Oct. 2023 Roots Divino Bianco: This complex, botanical take on vermouth comes in dry (with wormwood and rosemary) and sweet (orange peel and gentian root) varieties. Monica Khemsurov, New York Times, 28 July 2023 This Vermut is a combination of two types of sherry that are fortified with a brandy made from red grapes of the region, and is finally aromatized with wormwood, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla bean. Tom Hyland, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 Malört, the Swedish word for wormwood, is the ingredient that gives the spirit its notoriously unsavory flavor. Haadiza Ogwude, The Enquirer, 24 Mar. 2023 Tollius created this vermouth using a Niagara grape juice base and infusing it with botanicals like wormwood, angelica root, and gentian for a full 24 hours. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 15 Mar. 2023 It’s now known that wormwood, or at least some varieties of it, contains thujone, which can indeed cause seizures, and death, due to being a GABA antagonist. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 20 Mar. 2010

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'wormwood.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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)

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near wormwood

Cite this Entry

“Wormwood.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wormwood. Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

wormwood

noun
worm·​wood ˈwərm-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce wormwood (audio)
1
: a European plant that is related to the daisies and yields a bitter dark green oil
2
: something bitter or painful
it was wormwood for him to accept charity

Medical Definition

wormwood

noun
worm·​wood ˈwərm-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce wormwood (audio)
: 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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!