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[pen-ee-roi-uh l] /ˌpɛn iˈrɔɪ əl/
an aromatic Old World plant, Mentha pulegium, of the mint family, having clusters of small purple flowers and yielding a pungent essential oil used medicinally and as an insect repellent.
Also called mock pennyroyal. a similar, related plant, Hedeoma pulegioides, of eastern North America, having bluish flowers growing from the leaf axils.
any of several other aromatic plants of the mint family.
Origin of pennyroyal
late Middle English
1520-30; penny + royal; replacing late Middle English puliol real < Anglo-French; Middle French poliol (< Latin *pūlēgiōlum, diminutive of pūlēgium pennyroyal) + real, earlier form of royal Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for pennyroyal
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The place was steaming presently with the fragrance of pennyroyal.

    The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • It was a sunny little room, with a pleasant smell of pennyroyal about it.

    Hildegarde's Holiday Laura E. Richards
  • And pennyroyal's disposition to regard herself as one family had made her dissensions peculiarly bitter.

    The Loves of Ambrose Margaret Vandercook
  • I told her to bring me some pennyroyal along from the field next the quarry.

    Patchwork Anna Balmer Myers
  • pennyroyal bore witness to the permanence of material things untroubled by spirit.

    The Loves of Ambrose Margaret Vandercook
  • Living was leisurely down in the pennyroyal Region of those old days.

    Oldfield Nancy Huston Banks
  • Violet, pennyroyal or boneset tea, is excellent to promote perspiration in case of sudden chill.

    The Whitehouse Cookbook (1887) Mrs. F.L. Gillette
  • "How interesting," said the young man, still looking at Doris—not at the pennyroyal.

    Oldfield Nancy Huston Banks
  • The coin and pennyroyal changed ownership, and he tottered away, chattering to himself in his senile fashion.

    Meadow Grass Alice Brown
British Dictionary definitions for pennyroyal


a Eurasian plant, Mentha pulegium, with hairy leaves and small mauve flowers, that yields an aromatic oil used in medicine: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
Also called mock pennyroyal. a similar and related plant, Hedeoma pulegioides, of E North America
Word Origin
C16: variant of Anglo-Norman puliol real, from Old French pouliol (from Latin pūleium pennyroyal) + realroyal
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 pennyroyal

herb, 1520s, alteration by folk etymology of Anglo-French puliol real; for second element see royal; first element ultimately from Latin puleium "thyme," of unknown origin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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