One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An aromatic plant of the daisy family, formerly used in medicine and for flavoring ale prior to the use of hops.
- ‘The costmary plant is a tall and erect perennial chrysanthemum, of minor importance as a condiment.’
- ‘Today, the primary use of costmary is in tea and herbal pillows and sachets.’
- ‘Using a mortar and pestle, grind the spikenard, peppercorns, costmary and cloves together.’
- ‘Perfumed toilet water was once made from costmary leaves and they added a spicy flavor to ale.’
- ‘In potpourris, costmary helps intensify the scents of other herbs.’
Late Middle English: from obsolete cost (via Latin from Greek kostos, via Arabic from Sanskrit kuṣṭha, denoting an aromatic plant) + Mary, the mother of Christ (with whom it was associated in medieval times because of its medicinal qualities).
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