a. A southern European plant (Mandragora officinarum) in the nightshade family, having greenish-yellow flowers and a branched root. This plant was once believed to have magical powers because its root resembles the human body.
b. The root of this plant, which contains the poisonous alkaloid hyoscyamine. In both senses also called mandragora.
2. See mayapple.
[Middle English, alteration (influenced by drake, dragon) of mandragora, from Old English, from Latin mandragorās, from Greek, of unknown origin.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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