One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tall large-leaved Eurasian plant of a genus that includes asafetida and its relatives.
Genus Ferula, family Umbelliferae
- ‘It's made with ferula, horseradish and garlic extracts, which straighten hair and provide terrific thermal protection.’
- ‘Silphium has a big thick root, a stem as long as ferula and just about as thick, and a leaf (which they call maspeton) similar to celery; it has a flat fruit, rather leaf-like, called phyllon ‘leaf’.’
2rare term for ferule
- ‘I have a birch rod handy to dole out any punishment or I may have to hit you on the hand with a ferula.’
- ‘A stereotypical portrait of an old-time Chinese teacher would be a thin figure with a goatee, carrying a book in one hand and a ferula in the other.’
Late Middle English: from Latin, ‘giant fennel, rod’.
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