Etymology
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herb (n.)

c. 1300, erbe "non-woody plant," especially a leafy vegetable used for human food, from Old French erbe "grass, herb, plant fed to animals" (12c., Modern French herbe), from Latin herba "grass, an herb; herbage, turf, weeds" (source also of Spanish yerba, Portuguese herva, Italian erba). The form of the English word was refashioned after Latin since 15c., but the h- was mute until 19c. Slang meaning "marijuana" is attested from 1960s. The native word is wort.

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herbaceous (adj.)

1640s, from Latin herbaceus "grassy," from herba "grass, herbage" (see herb).

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herbicide (n.)

"chemical that kills plants," used to destroy unwanted weeds, etc., 1888, originally a trademark name, from herb + -cide "killer."

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herbal (adj.)

1610s, from Latin herbalis, from herba "grass, herb" (see herb). Earlier as a noun, "book that names and classifies plants" (1510s).

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herbivorous (adj.)

"plant-eating," 1660s, from Modern Latin herbivorus, from Latin herba "a plant" (see herb) + vorare "devour, swallow" (from PIE root *gwora- "food, devouring").

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herbage (n.)

late 14c., "pasture-plants, non-woody plants collectively," from Old French erbage "grass; pasture" (Modern French herbage), or directly from Medieval Latin herbagium; see herb + -age. In law, the natural pasture as distinct from the land itself.

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herbivore (n.)

"plant-eating animal," 1851, from Modern Latin Herbivora (1830) or French herbivore (1748), from neuter plural of Latin herbivorus, from herba "a plant" (see herb) + vorare "devour, swallow" (from PIE root *gwora- "food, devouring").

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arbor (n.1)

c. 1300, herber, "herb garden, pleasure garden," from Old French erbier "field, meadow; kitchen garden," from Latin herba "grass, herb" (see herb). Later "a grassy plot" (mid-14c., a sense also in Old French), "shaded nook, bower formed by intertwining of trees, shrubs, or vines" (mid-14c.). It is probably not from Latin arbor "tree" (see arbor (n.2)), though perhaps that word has influenced its spelling:

[O]riginally signifying a place for the cultivation of herbs, a pleasure-ground, garden, subsequently applied to the bower or rustic shelter which commonly occupied the most conspicuous situation in the garden ; and thus the etymological reference to herbs being no longer apparent, the spelling was probably accommodated to the notion of being sheltered by trees or shrubs (arbor). [Hensleigh Wedgwood, "A Dictionary of English Etymology," 1859]

But the change from er- to ar- before consonants in Middle English also reflects a pronunciation shift: compare farm from ferme, harbor from Old English herebeorg.

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herbalist (n.)

"student of, or dealer in, herbs," 1590s, from herbal + -ist. Earlier such a person might have been called herber (early 13c. as a surname), herbarian (1570s), herbarist, herb-man, herbary (1540s). Fem. formation herb-wife is attested from 1580s.

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wasabi (n.)

herb root used in cooking, 1903, from Japanese.

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