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noun, plural cic·e·lies.
  1. a plant, Myrrhis odorata, of the parsley family, having a fragrant aroma and sometimes used as a potherb.

Origin of cicely

1590–1600; < Latin seseli < Greek séselis, séseli hartwort, respelling through influence of proper name Cicely


  1. a female given name, form of Cecilia.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cicely

Historical Examples

  • Cicely Howe has been teasing me to stop over and go with her.

    The Very Small Person

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Nothing was too large for Cicely's good-will, nothing too small.

    Aunt Deborah

    Mary Russell Mitford

  • After school was over he said to her, "Do you sing, Cicely?"

  • "I sang to—to—my papa," said Cicely—tears springing to her eyes.

  • Cicely and Agnes were quite aware that their religious sentiments were alike.

    For the Master's Sake

    Emily Sarah Holt

British Dictionary definitions for cicely


noun plural -lies
  1. short for sweet cicely

Word Origin

C16: from Latin seselis, from Greek, of obscure origin; influenced in spelling by the English proper name Cicely
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cicely


fem. proper name, an alteration or nativization of Cecilia. The plant (late 16c.) is Latin seselis, from Greek seselis.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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