- any of a number of strong-smelling plants (genus Artemisia) of the composite family, with white or yellow flowers; esp., a Eurasian perennial (A. absinthium) that yields a bitter, dark-green oil (wormwood oil) used in making absinthe
- a bitter, unpleasant, or mortifying experience
Origin of wormwoodMiddle English wormwode, altered by folk etymology (infl. by worm, worm + wode, wood: from use as a vermifuge) ; from wermode ; from Old English wermod, akin to German wermut (from source French vermout, vermouth)
- a. Any of several aromatic plants of the genus Artemisia.b. See absinthe.
- Something harsh or embittering: “Mr. Dempster could never think of his lost client without strong irritation, and the very sight of Mr. Jerome passing in the street was wormwood to him” (George Eliot).
Origin of wormwoodMiddle English wormwode, alteration (influenced by worm, worm, and wode, wood, perhaps from the use of its leaves as a vermifuge) of wermod, from Old English wermōd, from Germanic *wermōdaz.