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[man-dreyk, -drik] /ˈmæn dreɪk, -drɪk/
a narcotic, short-stemmed European plant, Mandragora officinarum, of the nightshade family, having a fleshy, often forked root somewhat resembling a human form.
the May apple.
Origin of mandrake
1275-1325; Middle English, variant of mandrage (short for mandragora), taken by folk etymology as man1 + drake2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for mandrake
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The use of the mandrake plant as an anæsthetic is spoken of as far back as Pliny, the Roman historian.

  • In other words, the tree of life had the power of love-provoking like the mandrake.

    The Evolution of the Dragon G. Elliot Smith
  • It was customary in Germany in medival times to form or carve small figures out of the mandrake root, which were called abrunes.

  • Asked, in what place this mandrake was, and what she had heard of it?

    Jeanne d'Arc Mrs.(Margaret) Oliphant
  • Of the apples of mandrake, if a man smell of them thei will make hym slepe and also if they be eaten.

    The Old English Herbals Eleanour Sinclair Rohde
  • The mandrake or mandragora is frequently mentioned in the plays.

  • This is briony-root carved like a mandrake into the shape of a man's legs.

    By What Authority? Robert Hugh Benson
  • Thus the blood and the mandrake juice would be a true assiratum.

    The Blood Covenant H. Clay Trumbull
  • Possibly I might ere long need some quinine, or mandrake, or a hot steam bath—anything for the ague!

    Hoosier Mosaics Maurice Thompson
British Dictionary definitions for mandrake


a Eurasian solanaceous plant, Mandragora officinarum, with purplish flowers and a forked root. It was formerly thought to have magic powers and a narcotic was prepared from its root
another name for the May apple
Word Origin
C14: probably via Middle Dutch from Latin mandragoras (whence Old English mandragora), from Greek. The form mandrake was probably adopted through folk etymology, because of the allegedly human appearance of the root and because drake (dragon) suggested magical powers
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
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Word Origin and History for mandrake

narcotic plant, early 14c., mondrake, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and is said to shriek when pulled from the ground.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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