Digitalis, or foxglove flowers.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- any of a genus (Digitalis) of plants of the figwort family, with long spikes of thimblelike flowers; foxglove
- the dried leaves of a common digitalis plant (Digitalis purpurea) that usually has purple flowers
- a medicine made from these leaves, used as a heart stimulant
Origin: Modern Latin foxglove ; from Classical Latin digitalis, belonging to the finger ; from digitus, a finger, digit: so named (1542) by L. Fuchs (see fuchsia), from its thimblelike flowers, after the German name fingerhut, thimble
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- A plant of the genus Digitalis, which includes the foxgloves.
- A drug prepared from the seeds and dried leaves of this plant, used in medicine as a cardiac stimulant.
Origin: Latin digitālis, of a finger (from the finger-shaped corollas of foxglove), from digitus, finger; see digit.Word History: The name of the plant genus Digitalis, whose member the foxglove provides an important drug used to treat heart disease, is associated with another part of the body, the finger. In Digitalis, which comes from the Latin word digitālis, meaning “relating to a finger,” we recognize digit, which derives from Latin digitus, “finger, toe.” In Modern Latin the genus name was chosen because the German name for the foxglove is Fingerhut, “thimble,” or literally “finger hat.” The second part of our word foxglove also refers to the similarity of the foxglove blossoms to the fingers of a glove. Digitalis is first recorded in English in a work published in 1664.
digitalis - Medical Definition
- A plant of the genus Digitalis, which includes the foxgloves, several species of which are a source of cardioactive steroid glycosides used in the treatment of certain heart diseases.
- A pharmaceutical prepared from the seeds and dried leaves of the purple foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, and prescribed as a cardiac stimulant in the treatment of congestive heart failure and other disorders of the heart.
digitalis - Science Definition
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