Mis"tle*toe(?), n. [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.] (Bot.) 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.
The mistletoe of the United States is Phoradendron serotinum (syn. Phoradendron flavescens), having broader leaves than the European kind. In different regions various similar plants are called by this name. The mistletoe is used as a decoration at Christmas time, and it is a tradition that two persons of the oposite sex finding each other under a mistletoe sprig should kiss.
[1913 Webster +PJC]
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Tue 20th August 2019