One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant of a genus that includes self-heal. Several kinds are cultivated as ground cover and rockery plants.
- ‘Prunella vulgaris [also known as self heal] is a perennial plant found in China, the British Isles, Europe, and North America.’
- ‘Prunella is the name given to a small yet hearty herb found throughout Europe, Asia and other temperate regions. The plant goes by a variety of names, including self-heal, carpenter's weed and sicklewort.’
- ‘It is said in the Materia Medica that prunella can best treat scrofula, disperses Knotted Qi and has the effect of tonifying the blood vessels of the Jueyin, but there is no discussion on its ability to eliminate the Cold and Heat.’
Modern Latin, literally ‘quinsy’, in medieval Latin brunella, diminutive of brunus ‘brown’, denoting a disease causing a brown coating on the tongue. Self-heal was a reputed cure for the disease.
A strong silk or worsted fabric used formerly for barristers' gowns and the uppers of women's shoes.
- ‘A smile of pleasure lighted up the Stranger's face when his eye fell on Caroline, her neat feet shod in plum-colored prunella gaiters.’
- ‘Prunella, from the French prunelle, which means plum, [is] a stout worsted material named from its color, which is a purplish shade similar to that of a ripe plum. The name was originally applied to a kind of lasting of which clergymen's gowns were made.’
Mid 17th century: perhaps from French prunelle ‘sloe’ (because of its dark colour).
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