One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A woody shrub with a bitter aromatic taste, used as an ingredient of vermouth and absinthe and in medicine.
Genus Artemisia, family Compositae: several species, in particular the Eurasian A. absinthium
- ‘Hemingway later blamed the damage on woodworm, a witty reference to absinthe's quasi - magical ingredient - wormwood.’
- ‘A short while after, I passed out - the wormwood must have made me sick.’
- ‘Examples of carbonizing herbs to stop bleeding are carbonized cattail pollen, carbonized human hair, carbonized agrimony and carbonized wormwood or mugwort.’
- ‘This is a powdered mixture of natural ingredients that contains garlic as well as alfalfa, wormwood, yellowdock and pennyroyal.’
- ‘She knew dressmaking, and she had been taught to cook a little bit, and how to care for the sick and wounded; she knew something of the use of plants and herbs - sage and lavender, fennel and hore-hound and wormwood.’
- ‘Yes, absinthe is made with wormwood, which contains a psychoactive chemical called thujon, which causes mild hallucinations.’
- ‘The drug is extracted from the leaf of the Chinese weed Artemisia annua or sweet wormwood.’
- ‘For such a man these herbs should be used: lupin, helenium (which we call elf-dock), marsh mallow, dock elder, wormwood and strawberry leaves.’
- ‘And for that matter, surely someone ought also to have known that absinthe is made with wormwood, not digitalis.’
- ‘The more classic version is the almost dry, bitter drink with the strong aroma of wormwood and other bitter herbs.’
- ‘Bitter herbs that would help would be gentian, artichoke, bitter orange, turmeric, wormwood and chamomile.’
2A state or source of bitterness or grief.
- ‘The survivors of the 1996 election were relegated to a kind of mute opposition, forced to sip wormwood from the cup of their own brewing.’
- ‘To be sure, the morbidity has become less lush; it's been distilled into essence of wormwood.’
Old English wermōd. The change in spelling in late Middle English was due to association with worm and wood. Compare with vermouth.
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