• synonyms


[his-uh p]
  1. any of several aromatic herbs belonging to the genus Hyssopus, of the mint family, especially H. officinalis, native to Europe, having clusters of small blue flowers.
  2. any of several related or similar plants, especially of the genera Agastache or Gratiola.
  3. Bible. a plant, perhaps the origan, whose twigs were used in ceremonial sprinkling.
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Origin of hyssop

before 900; Middle English, Old English ysope < Late Latin ysōpus, for Latin hyssōpus < Greek hýssōpos < Semitic (compare Hebrew ēzōbh); conformed to Latin or Gk from mid-16th century
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hyssop

Historical Examples

  • Well, Hyssop got it out—Lord alone knows how, as she said afterwards.

    Humorous Ghost Stories

    Dorothy Scarborough

  • “And then he'd have thousands to my poor tens,” said Hyssop.

    Humorous Ghost Stories

    Dorothy Scarborough

  • Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

    Life and Times of David

    Charles Henry Mackintosh

  • It was not the vinegar on hyssop that explains the deed on the cross.

  • Of the virtue of the hyssop, we will speak under the next head.

British Dictionary definitions for hyssop


  1. a widely cultivated Asian plant, Hyssopus officinalis, with spikes of small blue flowers and aromatic leaves, used as a condiment and in perfumery and folk medicine: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
  2. any of several similar or related plants such as the hedge hyssop
  3. a Biblical plant, used for sprinkling in the ritual practices of the Hebrews
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Word Origin

Old English ysope, from Latin hyssōpus, from Greek hussōpos, of Semitic origin; compare Hebrew ēzōv
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 hyssop


Old English ysope, from Irish Latin hysopus, from Greek hyssopos, a plant of Palestine, used in Jewish purification rites, from Hebrew 'ezobh (cf. Syriac zupha, Arabic zufa).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper