Where does the word “feverfew” come from and What does feverfew mean?

French is not the only language to suffer mutilation when lifted bodily into English.

Latin has also suffered.

In Roman times a plant, the centaury, was known to possess properties which could soothe a feverish person.

For that reason the plant was also known as febrifugia, from febris, “fever,” and fugctre, “to drive away.”

Passing through French, the people of England took this at first to be feferfuge, later corrupted in common speech to feather-few, fetter-foe, and, eventually, feverfew.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

Leave a Comment