a European plant, Isatis tinctoria, of the mustard family, formerly cultivated for a blue dye extracted from its leaves.
the dye extracted from this plant.

before 1000; Middle English wode, Old English wād (cognate with German Waid); akin to French guède, Medieval Latin waizda < Germanic

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World English Dictionary
woad (wəʊd)
1.  dyer's-weed See also dyer's rocket a European plant, Isatis tinctoria, formerly cultivated for its leaves, which yield a blue dye: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
2.  the dye obtained from this plant, used esp by the ancient Britons, as a body dye
[Old English wād; related to Old High German weit; Middle Dutch wēd, Latin vitrum]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

O.E. wad, from P.Gmc. *waido- (cf. Dan. vaid, O.Fris. wed, M.Du. wede, Du. wede, O.H.G. weit, Ger. Waid "woad"), probably cognate with L. vitrium "glass" (see vitreous). Old type of blue dye processed from plant leaves, since superseded by indigo. Fr. guède, It. guado are Gmc. loan-words.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(Isatis tinctoria), biennial or perennial herb, in a genus of about 80 species in the mustard family (Brassicaceae), formerly grown as a source of the blue dye indigo and now sometimes cultivated for its small, four-petalled yellow flowers. It is a summer-flowering native of Eurasia, now naturalized in southeastern North America. Woad reaches 90 cm (3 feet) and produces clusters of dangling, winged, oval, single-seeded fruits. The hairy stem leaves have arrow-shaped bases; the long basal leaves are downy and lance shaped. The ground and dried leaves, when wetted and fermented, produce indigotin.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Spring herbicide applications were more effective for dyer's woad control compared to fall applications.
If you want to conserve water, be concerned about tamarisk and dyer's woad.
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