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[mis-uh l-toh] /ˈmɪs əlˌtoʊ/
a European plant, Viscum album, having yellowish flowers and white berries, growing parasitically on various trees, used in Christmas decorations.
any of several other related, similar plants, as Phoradendron serotinum, of the U.S.: the state flower of Oklahoma.
before 1000; Middle English mistelto, apparently back formation from Old English misteltān (mistel mistletoe, basil + tān twig), the -n being taken as plural ending; cognate with Old Norse mistilteinn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for mistletoe
  • Up above her was a tree in a pearly cloud of mistletoe.
  • But a rotten few put their boot in kids' faces, drink on the job and philander with mommy under the mistletoe.
  • mistletoe extracts are being studied as treatments for cancer.
  • Our native mistletoe is a teensy shrub whose seeds are launched with a powerful punch.
British Dictionary definitions for mistletoe


a Eurasian evergreen shrub, Viscum album, with leathery leaves, yellowish flowers, and waxy white berries: grows as a partial parasite on various trees: used as a Christmas decoration: family Viscaceae
any of several similar and related American plants in the families Loranthaceae or Viscaceae, esp Phoradendron flavescens
mistletoe cactus, an epiphytic cactus, Rhipsalis cassytha, that grows in tropical America
Word Origin
Old English misteltān, from mistel mistletoe + tān twig; related to Old Norse mistilteinn
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
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Word Origin and History for mistletoe

Old English mistiltan, from mistel "mistletoe" (see missel) + tan "twig." Cf. Old Norse mistilteinn, Norwegian misteltein, Danish mistelten. The second element is cognate with Old Saxon and Old Frisian ten, Old Norse teinn, Dutch teen, Old High German zein, Gothic tains "twig." Venerated by the Druids; the custom of hanging it at Christmas and kissing under it is mentioned by Washington Irving.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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