mistletoe
Pronunciation
  • (RP) IPA: /ˈmɪs(ə)ltəʊ/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈmɪsəlˌtoʊ/
Noun

mistletoe

  1. (countable, uncountable) Any of several hemiparasitic evergreen plant#Noun|plants of the order#Noun|order Santalales with white berries that grow in the crown#Noun|crowns of apple trees, oaks, and other trees, such as the European mistletoe (Viscum album) and American mistletoe or eastern mistletoe (Phoradendron leucarpum).
    • 1738, E[phraim] Chambers, “MISTLETOE ↗”, in Cyclopædia: Or, An Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences; […] In Two Volumes, volume II (L–Z), 2nd corrected and amended edition, London: Printed for D. Midwinter [et al.], OCLC 49347394 ↗, column 1:
      Miſtletoe, by phyſicians, &c. called viſcus, grows to the height of about two feet. […] Pliny and moſt naturaliſts relate, that thruſhes being exceedingly fond of the berries of the miſtletoe; they ſwallow them, and caſt them out again on the branches of trees, where they uſe to perch; and by this means give occaſion to a new production of miſtletoe.
  2. (uncountable) A sprig of one such plant used as a Christmas decoration, associated with the custom#Noun|custom that a man#Noun|man may kiss#Verb|kiss any woman stand#Verb|standing beneath it.
    • 1843 December 18, Charles Dickens, “Stave Three. The Second of the Three Spirits.”, in A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas, London: Chapman & Hall, […], OCLC 55746801 ↗, pages 81–82 ↗:
      There were ruddy, brown-faced, broad-girthed Spanish Onions, shining in the fatness of their growth like Spanish Friars; and winking from their shelves in wanton slyness at the girls as they went by, and glanced demurely at the hung-up mistletoe.
Synonyms
  • miseleden, misselden, misseldine (all obsolete or archaic)
Translations


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