mandrake

[man-dreyk, -drik]
noun
  1. a narcotic, short-stemmed European plant, Mandragora officinarum, of the nightshade family, having a fleshy, often forked root somewhat resembling a human form.
  2. the May apple.

Origin of mandrake

1275–1325; Middle English, variant of mandrage (short for mandragora), taken by folk etymology as man1 + drake2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for mandrake

mandrake

mandragora (mænˈdræɡərə)

noun
  1. a Eurasian solanaceous plant, Mandragora officinarum, with purplish flowers and a forked root. It was formerly thought to have magic powers and a narcotic was prepared from its root
  2. another name for the May apple

Word Origin for mandrake

C14: probably via Middle Dutch from Latin mandragoras (whence Old English mandragora), from Greek. The form mandrake was probably adopted through folk etymology, because of the allegedly human appearance of the root and because drake (dragon) suggested magical powers
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 mandrake
n.

narcotic plant, early 14c., mondrake, from Medieval Latin mandragora, from Latin mandragoras, from Greek mandragoras, probably from a non-Indo-European word. The word was in late Old English in its Latin form; folk etymology associated the second element with dragoun and substituted native drake in its place. The forked root is thought to resemble a human body and is said to shriek when pulled from the ground.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper