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Levantine plant cultivated for its seeds, which were important sources of chemical oils and flavoring, c.1300, from Old French anis (13c.), from Latin anisum, from Greek anison. By the Ancients, somewhat confused with dill.
This word is found only in Matt. 23:23. It is the plant commonly known by the name of dill, the Peucedanum graveolens of the botanist. This name dill is derived from a Norse word which means to soothe, the plant having the carminative property of allaying pain. The common dill, the Anethum graveolens, is an annual growing wild in the cornfields of Spain and Portugal and the south of Europe generally. There is also a species of dill cultivated in Eastern countries known by the name of shubit. It was this species of garden plant of which the Pharisees were in the habit of paying tithes. The Talmud requires that the seeds, leaves, and stem of dill shall pay tithes. It is an umbelliferous plant, very like the caraway, its leaves, which are aromatic, being used in soups and pickles. The proper anise is the Pimpinella anisum.