Why was "tantrum" trending last week?


[eth-noh-bot-n-ee] /ˌɛθ noʊˈbɒt n i/
the plant lore and agricultural customs of a people.
Anthropology. the systematic study of such lore and customs.
1885-90, Americanism; ethno- + botany
Related forms
[eth-noh-buh-tan-ik] /ˌɛθ noʊ bəˈtæn ɪk/ (Show IPA),
ethnobotanical, adjective
ethnobotanist, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for ethnobotany
  • ethnobotany is the study of the relationship between cultures and plants.
  • ethnobotany is the study of the relationships between plants and people.
British Dictionary definitions for ethnobotany


the branch of botany concerned with the use of plants in folklore, religion, etc
Derived Forms
ethnobotanist, noun
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
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for ethnobotany

systematic study of the botanical knowledge of a social group and its use of locally available plants in foods, medicines, clothing, or religious rituals. Rudimentary drugs derived from plants used in folk medicines have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of many illnesses, both physical and mental. The ethnobotany of prehistoric cultures is discovered through examination of ancient writings, pictures, pottery, and plant remains in jars or midden heaps (garbage dumps) excavated at archaeological sites. From this information, the agricultural practices and cultural development of a people can be determined. Ethnobotanists often live for periods of time in the society they are studying, to observe all phases of their lives, including mythology, religious practices, and language, in order to determine the specific plants used and the methods involved in their preparation. Travelers' journals, the field notes of early botanists, and other writings serve as sources of information about agricultural methods and folk remedies of the past.

Learn more about ethnobotany with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for ethnobotany

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for ethnobotany

Scrabble Words With Friends