any plant of the genus Polygala, comprising the milkworts.

Origin of polygala

1570–80; < New Latin, genus name, special use of Latin polygala, for Greek polýgalon milkwort, literally, something very milky, equivalent to poly- poly- + -galon, derivative of gála milk; see galacto-
Related formspol·y·ga·la·ceous [pol-ee-guh-ley-shuh s, puh-lig-uh-] /ˌpɒl i gəˈleɪ ʃəs, pəˌlɪg ə-/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for polygala

Historical Examples of polygala

  • Though I knew it not then, it was the famed “snake-root” (Polygala senega).

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • Root of seneka, polygala seneka, of elicampane, inula helenium.

    Zoonomia, Vol. II

    Erasmus Darwin

  • The hardy annual varieties of Polygala are obtained by seed sown in peat.

  • A white odourless powder, discovered by Gehlin in the bark of seneka root (Polygala Senega).

  • The genus Polygala is well known from the very handsome greenhouse plants which it contains.

British Dictionary definitions for polygala



any herbaceous plant or small shrub of the polygalaceous genus PolygalaSee also milkwort

Word Origin for polygala

C18: New Latin, from Greek polugalon, from poly- + gala milk
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