also absinth (though properly that means "wormwood"), "bitter, pale-green alcoholic liqueur distilled from wine mixed with wormwood" (Artemisia Absinthium), 1842, from French absinthe, "essence of wormwood" (short for extrait d'absinthe) from Latin absinthum "wormwood," from Greek apsinthion, which is perhaps from Persian (compare Persian aspand, of the same meaning). The wormwood plant itself is figurative of "bitter" sorrow; it was known as absinth in English from c. 1500; Old English used the word in the Latin form. The drink itself attained popularity from its heavy use by French soldiers in Algiers. Related: Absinthal; absinthic; absinthism.
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