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verbena

[ver-bee-nuh]
noun
  1. any of various plants of the genus Verbena, especially any of several hybrid species cultivated for their showy flower clusters.Compare verbena family.
  2. any of various other plants, as the lemon verbena or sand verbena.
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Origin of verbena

1560–70; < Medieval Latin verbēna, Latin: leafy twig; see vervain
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for verbena

Historical Examples

  • Again in the Verbena and Salvia, we have scarlet and blue, but no yellow.

    Your Plants

    James Sheehan

  • The smell of blood delighted him more than frankincense or verbena.

    The Days of Chivalry

    Ernest Louis Victor Jules L'Epine

  • This he would eat as he lay in a hot bath full of verbena salts.

    Up and Down

    Edward Frederic Benson

  • The garden was all ablaze with geranium and verbena, heliotrope and larkspur.

    Hildegarde's Home

    Laura E. Richards

  • Robert took out a little sprig of verbena, which he gave to Dorothea.

    Old Kensington

    Miss Thackeray


British Dictionary definitions for verbena

verbena

noun
  1. any plant of the verbenaceous genus Verbena, chiefly of tropical and temperate America, having red, white, or purple fragrant flowers: much cultivated as garden plantsSee also vervain
  2. any of various similar or related plants, esp the lemon verbena
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Word Origin

C16: via Medieval Latin, from Latin: sacred bough used by the priest in religious acts, vervain
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 verbena

n.

genus of plants, the vervain, 1560s, from Latin verbena "leaves or twigs of olive, myrtle, laurel, or other sacred plants employed in religious ceremonies," from PIE *werbh- (cf. Lithuanian virbas "twig, branch, scion, rod"), from root *werb- "to turn, bend" (see warp (v.)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper