Definition of aconite in English:



  • 1A poisonous plant of the buttercup family, bearing hooded pink or purple flowers and found in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

    Genus Aconitum, family Ranunculaceae: many species, including monkshood and wolfsbane

    • ‘Saturn also rules over many of the herbs that are potentially poisonous or toxic (eg., aconite, helleborus, nightshade).’
    • ‘Other herbs, such as pinellia ternata, aconite and arisaema, are generally detoxified before use in various ways and are no longer considered poisonous.’
    • ‘Other plants in the fragrant garden include a cherry plum which is allegedly a remedy for stress and anxiety and aconite, a toxic plant which in small doses is claimed to be good for colds.’
    • ‘This would allow for the use of a variety of familiar medicinal herbs, including poisonous plants like aconite.’
    1. 1.1mass noun An extract of aconite, used as a poison or in pharmacy.
      • ‘Have been necking vitamin C, zinc, garlic pills, gelsemium, aconite and lucozade in attempt to get rid of it.’
      • ‘However, to understand the more subtle indications we might get a clue from the homeopathic indication for aconite which are symptoms caused by shock.’
      • ‘In the Book of Venoms, he listed arsenic, aconite, hellebore, laurel, opium, bryony, mandrake, leopard's gall, and menstrual blood.’
      • ‘Other kidney tonics based on Rehmannia 6 add more ingredients, such as cinnamon bark and aconite, to warm the kidneys.’
      • ‘Both Rehmannia six and Rehmannia eight, the latter with the addition of cinnamon bark and prepared aconite are the two most frequently prescribed formulas used for tonifying kidney yin and yang respectively’
      • ‘Some of these methods such as the detoxification of aconite by preparing it with salt and/or long boiling decoction are a mainstay of TCM practice.’
      • ‘It deserves notice that he experimented with the most boasted substances - cinchona, aconite, mercury, bryonia, belladonna.’
      • ‘Pinellia combination with aconite - the strongest, with double aconite, it works overnight.’
      • ‘The Chinese medical diagnosis was water qi disease, thus ginseng and aconite were used, as indicated for yin type edema.’
      • ‘Licorice is combined with prepared aconite to counteract its toxicity.’
      • ‘The Three Arterial Sedatives: veratrum, aconite and gelsemium.’
      • ‘A friend says: ‘I had the flu and aconite fixed me in one day.’’
      • ‘She was given Du Huo Angelica and Loranthes Combination (Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang) with the addition of 4 gms of prepared aconite to relieve the chronic arthritic condition and pains.’
      • ‘She is familiar with aconite; it's usually the first remedy I reach for when a child starts to feel sick.’
      • ‘In the UK, although the legal situation is somewhat ambiguous, it appears that all forms of aconite are effectively banned for internal use.’
      • ‘It is used by itself to treat most metabolic poisons (including poisoning by aconite and overuse of ephedrine and other stimulants).’
      • ‘Another doctor who killed his three wives, this time with aconite, escaped the hangman's noose by taking cyanide.’
      • ‘For Spleen and Kidney Yang Deficiency characterized by coughing of thin, watery sputum, deep pulse and urinary problems, add Cinnamon Bark and prepared aconite.’
      • ‘In fact baking or cooking for a long time in pressurized hot water can help to neutralize the toxic aconitum in raw aconite.’
      • ‘Important are the accounts of opium, aconite, hemlock, and the thorn apple, showing careful study of widely known poisons.’
  • 2A small herbaceous Eurasian plant, cultivated for its yellow flowers in early spring.

    Genus Eranthis, family Ranunculaceae: several species

    • ‘The snowdrops and aconites are nearly over but crocuses and daffodils are taking their place in the spotlight, and the foliage of early tulips may be poking through already.’
    • ‘Loaded, I made for St Mary's Church in the corner, with a graveyard, an Anglo-Saxon shaft, and bright with snowdrops and aconites.’
    • ‘Just as endearing as the snowdrop is eranthis hyemalis, commonly known as the winter aconite.’
    • ‘One of its manifestations was naturalistic sweeps of winter aconite, bluebells, daffodils or anemones multiplying by the thousands in woodlands.’
    • ‘Why aren't the aconites and snowdrops showing and out first?’
    • ‘So do bulbs such as winter aconite, crocus, snowdrop, Iris reticulata, and Cyclamen coum.’
    • ‘Here there's a nice 1898 Arts and Crafts style house, sheltered by beech copses with kettle nest boxes and carpeted yellow by winter aconites.’
    • ‘Here there are obvious earth shapes that tell of a village abandoned in the seventeenth century, and we saw a lovely patch of snowdrops and aconites, the prettiest harbingers of spring.’
    • ‘One of the earliest is the winter aconite Eranthis hymalis, whose little rounded yellow flowers start appearing shortly after New Year.’
    • ‘Lift, divide and spread out winter aconites while still in leaf.’
    • ‘It's attached to the winter aconite, Eranthis hyemalis and also to a type of horsetail, Equisetum hyemale.’
    • ‘Snowdrops and winter aconites herald the transition between winter and spring.’
    • ‘At Huggate, due to a microclimate or the vagaries of the night, it was mild and spring-like; and a thrush sang the chance of snowdrops and winter aconites.’
    • ‘By early March, Lakes & Rivers gardeners are heartened by the blossoms of winter aconite, glory of the snow, snowdrops and snowflakes.’
    • ‘Pack spaces with spring bulbs - aconites, miniature daffodils, little tulips - anything you fancy.’
    • ‘Once off the A19, the roads to Kepwick were bordered by thick drifts of snowdrops and we found more growing alongside winter aconite in the small churchyard.’
    • ‘Today there is new crocus, white and yellow, yellow aconite, and a strange, small saffron flower, contained by broad shafts of weed.’
    • ‘To naturalize bulbs in your lawn, choose bulbs that blossom and fade before grass grows vigorously and requires mowing: crocus, winter aconite, snowdrops, and scilla.’
    • ‘Carefully rake leaves away from clumps of snowdrops and aconites, replanting any that have been lifted by frost.’


Mid 16th century: via French and Latin from Greek akoniton.