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[mur-tl] /ˈmɜr tl/
any plant of the genus Myrtus, especially M. communis, a shrub of southern Europe having evergreen leaves, fragrant white flowers, and aromatic berries: anciently held sacred to Venus and used as an emblem of love.
Compare myrtle family.
any of certain unrelated plants, as the periwinkle, Vinca minor, and California laurel, Umbellularia californica.
Also called myrtlewood
[mur-tl-woo d] /ˈmɜr tlˌwʊd/ (Show IPA)
. the hard, golden-brown wood of the California laurel.
Also called myrtle green. dark green with bluish tinge.
Origin of myrtle
1350-1400; Middle English mirtile < Medieval Latin myrtillus, equivalent to Latin myrt(us) (< Greek mýrtos) + New Latin -illus diminutive suffix


[mur-tl] /ˈmɜr tl/
a female given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for myrtle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Many a time myrtle had puzzled herself about the mystery of the old desk.

    The Guardian Angel Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Say, myrtle, on the dead, he spends money just like a young Jew trying to be white!

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • myrtle could not be expected to think how it would seem to her.

    Cloudy Jewel Grace Livingston Hill
  • Until then she was very respectfully his friend, myrtle Musgrove.

  • It is wild, with heath and arbutus scrub and a sort of myrtle, breast-high.

    Sea and Sardinia D. H. Lawrence
British Dictionary definitions for myrtle


any evergreen shrub or tree of the myrtaceous genus Myrtus, esp M. communis, a S European shrub with pink or white flowers and aromatic blue-black berries
short for crape myrtle
bog myrtle another name for sweet gale
(US & Canadian) creeping myrtle, trailing myrtle, another name for periwinkle2 (sense 1)
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin myrtilla, from Latin myrtus, from Greek murtos
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 myrtle

c.1400, from Old French mirtile, from Medieval Latin myrtillus, diminutive of Latin myrtus "myrtle tree," from Greek myrtos "the myrtle, a sprig of myrtle," from same Semitic source as Greek myrrha (see myrrh).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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myrtle in the Bible

(Isa. 41:19; Neh. 8:15; Zech. 1:8), Hebrew hadas, known in the East by the name _as_, the Myrtus communis of the botanist. "Although no myrtles are now found on the mount (of Olives), excepting in the gardens, yet they still exist in many of the glens about Jerusalem, where we have often seen its dark shining leaves and white flowers. There are many near Bethlehem and about Hebron, especially near Dewir Dan, the ancient Debir. It also sheds its fragrance on the sides of Carmel and of Tabor, and fringes the clefts of the Leontes in its course through Galilee. We meet with it all through Central Palestine" (Tristram).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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