- any composite herb or low shrub of the genus Artemisia.
- a bitter, aromatic plant, A. absinthium, of the Old World, used as a vermifuge and a tonic, and as an ingredient in absinthe.
- something bitter, grievous, or extremely unpleasant.
Origin of wormwood
Examples from the Web for wormwood
Strong fennel and wormwood hit the back of my tongue along with a dryness from the barrel and hints of citrus from the chamomile.The Absinthe-Minded Porteños of Buenos Aires
March 10, 2014
But voters are more likely to go for Gabriel Ebert, who plays Mr. Wormwood in Matilda the Musical with bitter fun.Who’ll Win a 2013 Tony Award—and Who Deserves To
June 6, 2013
Like, Mrs. Wormwood very much wants to be the center of attention.‘Matilda’ Star Mara Wilson Reviews ‘Matilda the Musical’
April 16, 2013
I have summoned you here to witness it, because I know it will be gall and wormwood to you!Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit
Give it brimstone and treacle and a cupful of wormwood and camomile.The Manxman
This was wormwood and gall to the parent, but he did not spare himself.A Waif of the Mountains
Edward S. Ellis
He had to live on her money, which galled him, and to be assisted by the Dean's money, which was wormwood to him.
It may easily be conceived that all this was gall and wormwood to the Baroness Banmann.
- Also called: absinthe any of various plants of the chiefly N temperate genus Artemisia, esp A. absinthium, a European plant yielding a bitter extract used in making absinthe: family Asteraceae (composites)
- something that embitters, such as a painful experience
Word Origin and History for wormwood
c.1400, folk etymology of Old English wermod "wormwood," related to vermouth, but the ultimate etymology is unknown. Cf. Old Saxon wermoda, Dutch wermoet, Old High German werimuota, German Wermut. Weekley suggests wer "man" + mod "courage," from its early use as an aphrodisiac. Figurative use, however, is usually in reference to its bitter aftertaste. Perhaps because of the folk etymology, it formerly was used to protect clothes and bedding from moths and fleas. "A medecyne for an hawke that hath mites. Take the Iuce of wormewode and put it ther thay be and thei shall dye." ["Book of St. Albans," 1486]