Definition of witch hazel in English:

witch hazel

(also wych hazel)


  • 1A shrub with fragrant yellow flowers which is widely grown as an ornamental. American species flower in autumn and Asian species in winter.

    • ‘There were camellias flowering, witch hazel and wintersweet, and rows of paperwhites beside the driveway.’
    • ‘At this time of year it's difficult to make the garden look anything but dull, even with the occasional splash of winter colour from a witch hazel or mahonia.’
    • ‘Gently prune large, slow-growing shrubs such as witch hazel, magnolia and Japanese maple.’
    • ‘From now through mid-March, deciduous trees show off their elegant forms, primroses are in flower, and winter bloomers such as witch hazel and sarcococca are perfuming the air.’
    • ‘Here were many favourites, including those that are normally associated with having scented flowers: witch hazel, Sarcococcus, Camellia, Daphne and magnolias.’
    • ‘Why witch hazels are not more widely grown is a mystery to me.’
    • ‘This year I was delighted to find a close relative of the witch hazel also flowering at Christmas.’
    • ‘The backyard is full of viburnums, witch hazels, hydrangeas of all kinds, fothergillas, and other interesting shrubs.’
    • ‘When else but in winter would we appreciate the witch hazel's subtle beauty?’
    • ‘To start, they planted shrubs and small trees, including dogwoods, serviceberries, witch hazels, and native rhododendrons.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]An astringent lotion made from the bark and leaves of the witch hazel.
      • ‘n Avocado, Egg and Mud Facial (health food stores stock clay mud in powder form): mash a quarter of an avocado with one tablespoon of dry clay, one egg yolk and enough witch hazel to make the texture of the mixture smooth.’
      • ‘The tannins in witch hazel tighten the weak veins that trigger painful hemorrhoids.’
      • ‘But, less predictably, he'll also be dousing his guitar-playing fingers in witch hazel.’
      • ‘Add a bit of witch hazel to the mix if you like an astringent quality.’
      • ‘If you have predominantly oily skin throughout the seasons, opt for a toner that contains witch hazel, instead.’
      • ‘These often contain witch hazel, which is thought to have soothing properties.’
      • ‘Then, just as it popped into my head, one of the other panellists opted for witch hazel.’
      • ‘She hurried over to one of the cabinets, not waiting for an answer, and pulled out a bottle of witch hazel and two clean rags.’
      • ‘It isn't responding to my usual treatment, a concoction of tea tree oil, witch hazel and rosewater.’
      • ‘Both contain 50 percent witch hazel, which is an astringent and cleansing agent.’
      • ‘Also, take warm baths, avoid perfumed soap that can cause irritation, and use ice packs or cotton pads soaked in witch hazel to reduce pain and swelling.’
      • ‘Fill a clean, empty spray bottle with witch hazel, and store it in the fridge.’
      • ‘Though herbal remedies are usually administered as infusions or tinctures, witch hazel is best applied directly onto the wound as a compress.’
      • ‘Treat any pain by taking paracetamol or applying witch hazel to the sore.’
      • ‘Others say that witch hazel or vodka, applied directly to the itchy spots, can help speed healing.’
      • ‘Conjunctivitis can be treated by mixing one drop of chamomile oil with a teaspoon of witch hazel, and blending this solution with 30 ml of rose water.’
      • ‘I use witch hazel as an astringent and mild soap.’
      • ‘Her friend called Dr. Castillo and was told to put witch hazel on the eyes.’
      • ‘Applied externally, witch hazel, or Hamamelis virginiana, helps stop bleeding.’
      • ‘I can't run around swabbing all of you with witch hazel.’


Mid 16th century: witch, variant of wych (see wych elm).


witch hazel