or mul·len

[muhl-uh n]


any of various plants belonging to the genus Verbascum, of the figwort family, native to the Old World, especially V. thapsus, a tall plant with woolly leaves and a dense spike of yellow flowers.
any of several similar plants.

Origin of mullein

1325–75; Middle English moleine < Anglo-French, perhaps derivative of mol soft < Latin mollis Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for mullein

Historical Examples of mullein

  • Mullein and nettle, henbane and wormwood, all are English emigrants.

  • If I just had some mullein leaves now to make compresses with!

    Tabitha at Ivy Hall

    Ruth Alberta Brown

  • Here about Mullein Hill, this is sure to be a gray-birch home.


    Dallas Lore Sharp

  • These great flannel leaves of the mullein are caressing and soft to the touch.

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • They were all new-comers this summer, even the mullein, arrogant and tall as it was.

    Little Johannes

    Frederik van Eeden

British Dictionary definitions for mullein




any of various European herbaceous plants of the scrophulariaceous genus Verbascum, such as V. thapsus (common mullein or Aaron's rod), typically having tall spikes of yellow flowers and broad hairy leavesSee also Aaron's rod

Word Origin for mullein

C15: from Old French moleine, probably from Old French mol soft, from Latin mollis
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 mullein

tall plant of the figwort family, mid-15c., from Anglo-French moleine (French moulaine), perhaps literally "the soft-leaved plant," from French mol "soft," from Latin mollis (see melt (v.))

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper