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mistletoe

[mis-uh l-toh] /ˈmɪs əlˌtoʊ/
noun
1.
a European plant, Viscum album, having yellowish flowers and white berries, growing parasitically on various trees, used in Christmas decorations.
2.
any of several other related, similar plants, as Phoradendron serotinum, of the U.S.: the state flower of Oklahoma.
Origin of mistletoe
1000
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
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for mistletoe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The internes went about in fresh white ducks with sprays of mistletoe in their buttonholes, doing few dressings.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • And he said, in a very low voice, 'I didn't dare to kiss you under the mistletoe.'

    Four Days Hetty Hemenway
  • Bunches of mistletoe and holly added their colors to the holiday cheer.

    Maida's Little Shop Inez Haynes Irwin
  • mistletoe was the only thing in the world which had not sworn not to harm Baldur.

    The Book of Hallowe'en Ruth Edna Kelley
  • Covered with shining tufts of mistletoe, the branches of the neglected fruit-trees gave no sign of fruit.

    Adieu Honore de Balzac
British Dictionary definitions for mistletoe

mistletoe

/ˈmɪsəlˌtəʊ/
noun
1.
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
2.
any of several similar and related American plants in the families Loranthaceae or Viscaceae, esp Phoradendron flavescens
3.
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
n.

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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