Etymology
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bewitch (v.)

c. 1200, biwicchen, "cast a spell on; enchant, subject to sorcery," from be- + Old English wiccian "to enchant, to practice witchcraft" (see witch). Literal at first, and with implication of harm; the figurative sense of "fascinate, charm past resistance" is from 1520s. *Bewiccian may well have existed in Old English, but it is not attested. Related: Bewitchery; bewitchment.

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silphium (n.)

modern plant genus, 1771, Latin, taken by botanists from Greek Silphion, the name of a North African Mediterranean plant whose identity has been lost, the gum or juice of which was prized by the ancients as a condiment and a medicine. Probably the word is ultimately of African origin.

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taro (n.)

tropical food plant, 1769, from Polynesian (Tahitian or Maori) taro. Compare Hawaiian kalo.

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bloomer (n.)

1730, "plant which blooms," agent noun from bloom (v.).

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henbane (n.)

poisonous Eurasian plant, mid-13c., from hen (n.) + bane (n.).

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digitalis (n.)

species of tall herbs native to Europe and western Asia, 1660s, a Modern Latin translation of German fingerhut, the German name of the plant, a transferred use of the German word for "thimble," literally "finger-hat," the plant so called for the bell-shape of the flowers. Compare the English name, foxglove. The Latin name was given by Fuchs (1542). The medicine (originally extracted from the plant) is so called from 1799.

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maize (n.)

1550s, "the grain of Indian corn;" 1580s of the cereal plant of the grass family that produces it, from Cuban Spanish maiz, from Arawakan (Haiti) mahiz, the native name of the plant. In Europe it was formerly also called Turkey corn; like the fowl, this is from mistaken notions of its origin.

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patchouli (n.)

perfume made from an odoriferous Indian plant of the mint family, 1845, from the native name of the plant in Madras, which is said to be from Tamil pachchai "green" + ilai "leaf." The form of the word appears French, but this has not been explained and the record of it in English predates that in French.

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calla (n.)

marsh-plant found in colder parts of Europe and America, 1789, from Latin calla, the name in Pliny of an unidentified plant, perhaps a mistake for calyx. The common calla-lily (1805) is a related species, not a lily but so called for the appearance of the flowers.

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madder (n.)

type of plant (in modern use Rubia tinctorum) yielding a valuable dyestuff, Old English mædere and Old Norse maðra, from PIE *modhro- "dye plant" (source also of Old High German matara "madder," Polish modry, Czech modry "blue").

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