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  1. Classical Mythology. a nymph who, when pursued by Apollo, was saved by being changed into a laurel tree.
  2. (lowercase) Botany. any Eurasian shrub belonging to the genus Daphne, certain species of which, as D. mezereum, are cultivated for their fragrant flowers.
  3. a female given name.

Origin of Daphne

< Latin Daphnē < Greek dáphnē laurel


[muh-zeer-ee-uh m]
  1. a shrub, Daphne mezereum, native to Eurasia, having clusters of fragrant purplish flowers.
Also me·ze·re·on [muh-zeer-ee-on] /məˈzɪər iˌɒn/.

Origin of mezereum

1470–80; (< New Latin) < Medieval Latin mezereon < Arabic māzaryūn < Persian
Also called daphne.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for daphne

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The play is founded on the old classical story of Apollo and Daphne.

    English Villages

    P. H. Ditchfield

  • My budding Daphne wanted scope To bourgeon all her flowers of hope.

  • In it he knew Daphne, the daughter of the river, was hidden.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • Daphne was more afraid of him than of anything else in the sky.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • And if you ask for Daphne, the gardener will point her out, for he calls the tree by her name.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

British Dictionary definitions for daphne


  1. any shrub of the Eurasian thymelaeaceous genus Daphne, such as the mezereon and spurge laurel: ornamentals with shiny evergreen leaves and clusters of small bell-shaped flowersSee also laurel (def. 4)

Word Origin

via Latin from Greek: laurel


  1. Greek myth a nymph who was saved from the amorous attentions of Apollo by being changed into a laurel tree



  1. the dried bark of certain shrubs of the genus Daphne, esp mezereon, formerly used as a vesicant and to treat arthritis
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 daphne


fem. proper name, from Greek daphne "laurel, bay tree;" in mythology the name of a nymph, daughter of the river Peneus, metamorphosed into a laurel by Gaia to save her from being ravished as she was pursued by Apollo.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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