1. Any of several evergreen shrubs or trees of the genus Myrtus, especially M. communis, an aromatic shrub native to the Mediterranean region, having white flowers and blue-black berries and widely cultivated as a hedge plant.
2. Any of several other evergreen shrubs or trees, such as the wax myrtle.
3. The periwinkle Vinca minor.
[Middle English mirtille, from Old French, from Medieval Latin myrtillus, diminutive of Latin myrtus, from Greek murtos.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 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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