noun, plural tan·sies.

any of several composite plants of the genus Tanacetum, especially a strong-scented, weedy, Old World herb, T. vulgare, having flat-topped clusters of tubular yellow flowers.

Origin of tansy

1225–75; Middle English < Old French tanesie, aphetic variant of atanesie < Medieval Latin athanasia < Greek athanasía immortality, equivalent to a- a-6 + thánat(os) death (see Thanatos) + -ia -y3, with ti < si
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tansy

Historical Examples of tansy

  • First, I picked the pigweed and tansy, or how could she have made the cheese?

  • Mam' Chloe had given me tansy tea for a bad cold last winter.

  • Vivid streaks of tansy stretch in narrow lines for rods together.

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • The Tansy has a strong scent, especially when you crush its leaves or stalks.

  • The name Tansy was given afterward to a rich fruit cake which had no Tansy in it.

    Old-Time Gardens

    Alice Morse Earle

British Dictionary definitions for tansy


noun plural -sies

any of numerous plants of the genus Tanacetum, esp T. vulgare, having yellow flowers in flat-topped clusters and formerly used in medicine and for seasoning: family Asteraceae (composites)
any of various similar plants

Word Origin for tansy

C15: from Old French tanesie, from Medieval Latin athanasia tansy (with reference to its alleged power to prolong life), from Greek: immortality
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 tansy

(Tanacetum vulgare), mid-13c., from Old French tanesie (13c.), from Gallo-Romance *tanaceta, from Late Latin tanacetum "wormwood," from shortened form of Greek athanasia "immortality," so called probably for its persistence. English folklore associates it with pregnancy, either as an aid to contraception or to provoke miscarriage.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper