male fern



a bright-green fern, Dryopteris filix-mas, of Europe and northeastern North America.

Origin of male fern

First recorded in 1555–65 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for male fern

Historical Examples of male fern

  • After male-fern capsules it is quite unnecessary to give any aperient.

    A Manual of Toy Dogs

    Mrs. Leslie Williams

  • After that age it is safe to give very small doses of oil of male-fern and absolutely minute ones of santonine.

    A Manual of Toy Dogs

    Mrs. Leslie Williams

  • Two hours after breakfast next morning give one-half dram of the oleoresin of male-fern in emulsion or capsule.

  • On the following day, some tapeworm proglottides having been evacuated, both salts and male-fern extract were administered.


    T. Spencer Cobbold

  • Male-fern, official in the United States Pharmacopoeia, has been used since the remotest times as a remedy for worms.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants

    A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding

British Dictionary definitions for male fern

male fern


a fern, Dryopteris filix-mas, having scaly stalks and pinnate fronds with kidney-shaped spore-producing bodies on the underside: family Polypodiaceae

Word Origin for male fern

C16: so called because it was formerly believed to be the male of the lady fern
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