• synonyms


noun, plural bet·o·nies.
  1. a plant, Stachys (formerly Betonica) officinalis, of the mint family, having hairy leaves and dense spikes of purple flowers, formerly used in medicine and dyeing.
  2. any of various similar plants, especially of the genus Pedicularis.
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Origin of betony

before 1000; late Middle English; Middle English betayny, betanie < Medieval Latin betōnia, re-formation of Latin betōnica (Pliny), in earlier readings vettōnica (herba) Vettonic (herb) (Vettōn(ēs) an Iberian tribe + -ica, feminine of -icus -ic); compare Middle English beteyne, betoyne (< AF), Old English bet(t)onice (< L)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for betony


noun plural -nies
  1. a Eurasian plant, Stachys (or Betonica) officinalis, with a spike of reddish-purple flowers, formerly used in medicine and dyeing: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
  2. any of several related plants of the genus Stachys
  3. wood betony a North American scrophulariaceous plant, Pedicularis canadensisSee also lousewort
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French betoine, from Latin betonica, variant of vettonica, probably named after the Vettones, an ancient Iberian tribe
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