Plant Pathology. a disease of plants, characterized by a cottony, usually whitish coating on the surface of affected parts, caused by any of various fungi.
any of similar coatings or discolorations, caused by fungi, as that which appears on fabrics, paper, leather, etc., when exposed to moisture.
verb (used with or without object)
to affect or become affected with mildew.
Origin of mildew
before 1000; Middle English:Related formsmil·dew·y, adjectiveun·mil·dewed, adjective
honeydew, mildew; Old English mildēaw,
equivalent to mil-
honey (cognate with Gothic milith,
akin to Latin mel, Greek méli
) + dēaw dew
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for mildew
Historical Examples of mildew
British Dictionary definitions for mildew
any of various diseases of plants that affect mainly the leaves and are caused by parasitic fungiSee also downy mildew, powdery mildew
any fungus causing this kind of disease
Derived Formsmildewy, adjective
to affect or become affected with mildew
Word Origin for mildew
Old English mildēaw, from mil- honey (compare Latin mel, Greek mēli) + dēaw dew
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for mildew
mid-13c., mildeu "honeydew, nectar," from Old English meledeaw "honeydew" (sticky stuff exuded by aphids), from Proto-Germanic compound of *melith "honey" (see Melissa) + *dawwaz "dew" (see dew). Cf. Old Saxon milidou, Dutch meeldauw, German Meltau "mildew."
First element in many cases assimilated to forms of meal (n.2) "ground grain." As a kind of fungus it is first recorded mid-14c., so called from its being sticky and originally growing in plants. As a verb from 1550s. Related: Mildewed.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Any of various fungi or oomycete organisms that form a white or grayish coating on surfaces, such as plant leaves, cloth, or leather, especially under damp, warm conditions. Powdery mildews are important plant diseases usually caused by ascomycete fungi, while downy mildews, including a serious disease of grapevines, are caused by oomycetes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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