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mistletoe

[mis-uh l-toh]
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noun
  1. a European plant, Viscum album, having yellowish flowers and white berries, growing parasitically on various trees, used in Christmas decorations.
  2. any of several other related, similar plants, as Phoradendron serotinum, of the U.S.: the state flower of Oklahoma.
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Origin of mistletoe

before 1000; Middle English mistelto, apparently back formation from Old English misteltān (mistel mistletoe, basil + tān twig), the -n being taken as plural ending; cognate with Old Norse mistilteinn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for mistletoe

mistletoe

noun
  1. a Eurasian evergreen shrub, Viscum album, with leathery leaves, yellowish flowers, and waxy white berries: grows as a partial parasite on various trees: used as a Christmas decoration: family Viscaceae
  2. any of several similar and related American plants in the families Loranthaceae or Viscaceae, esp Phoradendron flavescens
  3. mistletoe cactus an epiphytic cactus, Rhipsalis cassytha, that grows in tropical America
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Word Origin

Old English misteltān, from mistel mistletoe + tān twig; related to Old Norse mistilteinn
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 mistletoe

n.

Old English mistiltan, from mistel "mistletoe" (see missel) + tan "twig." Cf. Old Norse mistilteinn, Norwegian misteltein, Danish mistelten. The second element is cognate with Old Saxon and Old Frisian ten, Old Norse teinn, Dutch teen, Old High German zein, Gothic tains "twig." Venerated by the Druids; the custom of hanging it at Christmas and kissing under it is mentioned by Washington Irving.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper