• synonyms

witch hazel

[ wich hey-zuh l ]
/ ˈwɪtʃ ˌheɪ zəl /


a shrub, Hamamelis virginiana, of eastern North America, having toothed, egg-shaped leaves and small, yellow flowers.Compare witch hazel family.
a liquid extraction from the leaves or bark of this plant mixed with water and alcohol, used externally as a liniment for inflammations and bruises and as an astringent.


Salem witch trialsRead more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.

Nearby words

witch, witch alder, witch ball, witch doctor, witch grass, witch hazel, witch hazel family, witch hobble, witch hunt, witch moth, witch of agnesi

Origin of witch hazel

1535–45; witch, variant of wych (see wych elm) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for witch hazel

British Dictionary definitions for witch hazel

witch hazel



any of several trees and shrubs of the genus Hamamelis, esp H. virginiana, of North America, having ornamental yellow flowers and medicinal properties: family Hamamelidaceae
an astringent medicinal solution containing an extract of the bark and leaves of H. virginiana, applied to treat bruises, inflammation, etc
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 witch hazel

witch hazel


1540s, probably from Old English wice "wych-elm" (from wican "to bend") + hæsel, used for any bush of the pine family. The North American bush, from which a soothing lotion is made, was so called from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for witch hazel

witch hazel

[ wĭch ]


Any of several deciduous shrubs or small trees of the genus Hamamelis, especially H. virginiana, of eastern North America, having yellow flowers that bloom in late autumn or winter.
An alcoholic solution containing an extract of the bark and leaves of this plant, applied externally as a mild astringent.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.