- any of a genus (Hamamelis) of small North American and Asiatic trees and shrubs of the witch hazel family; esp., a tall shrub (H. virginiana) of E North America, having yellow, wavy-petaled flowers in late autumn and woody fruit
- a lotion consisting of an alcoholic solution of an extract from the leaves and bark of this shrub, used on bruises, inflammations, etc.
- designating a family (Hamamelidaceae, order Hamamelidales) of dicotyledonous trees and shrubs of temperate regions, having flowers in heads or spikes, including the liquidambars
altered (infl. by witch) < wyche hazel < ME wyche < OE wice, applied to trees with pliant branches, akin to ON veikr, weak