What does mistletoe mean?

Definitions for mistletoe
ˈmɪs əlˌtoʊmistle·toe

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word mistletoe.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. mistletoe, false mistletoenoun

    American plants closely resembling Old World mistletoe

  2. mistletoe, Viscum album, Old World mistletoenoun

    Old World parasitic shrub having branching greenish stems with leathery leaves and waxy white glutinous berries; the traditional mistletoe of Christmas

  3. mistletoe, Loranthus europaeusnoun

    shrub of central and southeastern Europe; partially parasitic on beeches, chestnuts and oaks


  1. mistletoenoun

    Any of several parasitic evergreen plants with white berries that grow in the crowns of oaks, apple trees and other trees.

  2. mistletoenoun

    A sprig of these plants used as a Christmas decoration.

  3. Etymology: Old English misteltān, from mistel ‘mistletoe’ + tān ‘twig’. Compare mistle.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Mistletoenoun

    A plant.

    Etymology: mysteltan , Saxon; mistel, Danish, birdlime, and tan, a twig.

    The flower of the mistletoe consists of one leaf, which is shaped like a bason, divided into four parts, and beset with warts; the ovary which is produced in the female flowers is placed in a remote part of the plant from the male flowers, and consists of four shorter leaves; this becomes a round berry full of a glutinous substance, inclosing a plain heart-shaped seed: this plant is always produced from seed, and is not to be cultivated in the earth, as most other plants, but will always grow upon trees; from whence the ancients accounted it a super-plant, who thought it to be an excrescence on the tree without the seed being previously lodged there, which opinion is now generally confuted. The manner of its propagation is as follows, viz. the mistletoe thrush, which seeds upon the berries of this plant in winter when it is ripe, doth open the seed from tree to tree; for the viscous part of the berry, which immediately surrounds the seed, doth sometimes fasten it to the outward part of the bird’s beak, which, to get disengaged of, he strikes his beak at the branches of a neighbouring tree, and so leaves the seed sticking by this viscous matter to the bark, which, if it lights upon a smooth part of the tree, will fasten itself, and the following winter put out and grow: the trees which this plant doth most readily take upon are the apple, the ash, and some other smooth rind trees: it is observable, that whenever a branch of an oak tree hath any of these plants growing upon it, it is cut off, and preserved by the curious in their collections of natural curiosities. Philip Miller.

    If snowe do continue, sheepe hardly that fare
    Crave mistle and ivie for them for to spare. Thomas Tusser, Husb.

    A barren and detested vale, you see it is:
    The trees, though Summer, yet forlorn and lean,
    O’ercome with moss, and baleful misselto. William Shakespeare.

    Misseltoe groweth chiefly upon crab trees, apple trees, sometimes upon hazles, and rarely upon oaks; the misseltoe whereof is counted very medicinal: it is ever green Winter and Summer, and beareth a white glittering berry; and it is a plant utterly differing from the plant upon which it groweth. Francis Bacon.

    All your temples strow
    With laurel green, and sacred misletoe. John Gay, Trivia.


  1. Mistletoe

    Mistletoe is the common name for obligate hemiparasitic plants in the order Santalales. They are attached to their host tree or shrub by a structure called the haustorium, through which they extract water and nutrients from the host plant. The name mistletoe originally referred to the species Viscum album (European mistletoe, of the family Santalaceae in the order Santalales); it is the only species native to the British Isles and much of Europe. A related species with red rather than white fruits, Viscum cruciatum, occurs in Southwest Spain and Southern Portugal, as well as in Morocco in North Africa and in southern Africa. The genus Viscum is not native to North America, but Viscum album was introduced to Northern California in 1900.The eastern mistletoe native to North America, Phoradendron leucarpum, belongs to a distinct genus of the family Santalaceae. European mistletoe has smooth-edged, oval, evergreen leaves borne in pairs along the woody stem, and waxy, white berries that it bears in clusters of two to six. The eastern mistletoe of North America is similar, but has shorter, broader leaves and longer clusters of 10 or more berries. Over the centuries, the term has been broadened to include many other species of parasitic plants with similar habits, found in other parts of the world, that are classified in different genera and families such as the Misodendraceae of South America and the mainly southern hemisphere tropical Loranthaceae.


  1. mistletoe

    Mistletoe is a type of parasitic plant that grows on trees and absorbs nutrients and water from its host. It has white berries and green leaves, and is often used as a decoration during the Christmas season. In many cultures, it is traditional for two people standing under mistletoe to kiss.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Mistletoenoun

    a parasitic evergreen plant of Europe (Viscum album), bearing a glutinous fruit. When found upon the oak, where it is rare, it was an object of superstitious regard among the Druids. A bird lime is prepared from its fruit

  2. Etymology: [AS. misteltn; mistel mistletoe + tn twig. AS. mistel is akin of D., G., Dan. & Sw. mistel, OHG. mistil, Icel. mistilteinn; and AS. tn to D. teen, OHG. zein, Icel. teinn, Goth. tains. Cf. Missel.]


  1. Mistletoe

    Mistletoe is the common name for obligate hemi-parasitic plants in several families in the order Santalales. These plants attach to and penetrate the branches of a tree or shrub by a structure called the haustorium, through which they absorb water and nutrients from the host plant.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Mistletoe

    miz′l-tō, n. a parasitic evergreen plant, with white viscous berries, found in southern England and elsewhere growing on the apple, apricot, &c. (very rarely on the oak). [A.S. mistel-tán (Ice. mistel-teinn)—mistel, mistletoe, A.S. tán, twig; mistel is a dim. of mist.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Mistletoe

    Parasitic plants that form a bushy growth on branches of host trees which are in the order Santalales. It includes the Christmas mistletoe family (VISCACEAE), the showy mistletoe family (LORANTHACEAE) and the catkin mistletoe family (Eremolepidaceae). The composition of toxins, lectins, tyramine, phenethylamines, and other compounds may be affected by the host.

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How to pronounce mistletoe?

How to say mistletoe in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of mistletoe in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of mistletoe in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

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