Where does the word “pennyroyal” originate and What does pennyroyal mean?

Somewhere along the line someone with a cleft palate or a mouthful of mush must have been responsible for this word.

Its Latin name, in the thirteenth century was pulegium, corrupted along with French usage to puliol.

To distinguish it from wild thyme, rial, “royal,” was added.

But then, along in the sixteenth century, Mr. Mushmouth came along, and through means that have not yet been figured out, managed to induce people to alter puliol to penny, thus educing pennyroyal, as the alteration of rial to royal followed natural steps.

In France it’s still pouliot.

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.

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