Definition of betony in US English:



  • 1A Eurasian plant of the mint family, which bears spikes of showy purple flowers.

    Stachys officinalis, family Labiatae

    • ‘Bithwind Bindweed Bitony Wood betony, Stachys Betonica, known as bishopswort, highly popular cure although especially used for headaches.’
    • ‘I then took some betony and cut it with my dagger and placed it in my cauldron.’
    • ‘‘‘Tis betony; ‘twill be a rinse for his wound, ‘she said as she stirred it around.’’
    • ‘Peppermint, betony and sunflower teas can take a little milk.’
    • ‘It also comes with a free dime-bag of ‘nicotine-free smoking blend consisting of a mixture of wood betony, rosemary, thyme and lavender.’’
    • ‘I got the idea from a garden at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in which a badly eroded mud adobe wall enclosed a circular planting bed filled with red-flowered Texas betony and salvias.’
    • ‘Comparison with other nerve herbs: most specific for insomnia caused by nervous excitement, in this it is somewhat similar to skullcap and stronger than wood betony.’
    1. 1.1 Used in names of plants that resemble the betony, e.g., wood betony.
      • ‘Cancer the Crab - June 22 - July 22, ruling the stomach peristalsis, lower part of the lungs, breasts, esophagus, diaphragm, liver, stomach: daisy, agrimony, alder, lemon balm, water lilies, rushes, cucumbers, squashes, melons, water plants, water betony, honeysuckle, hyssop, jasmine.’


Middle English: from Old French betoine, based on Latin betonica, perhaps from the name of an Iberian tribe.