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Coined by John Milton for the play Comus around 1634 (see quotation below). Various scholars suggest that the word comes from a classical source such as Latin Haemonia (Thessaly, a place associated with magic),[1] Ancient Greek αἷμα (haîma, blood), or Ancient Greek αἵμων (haímōn, skillful).[2]



haemony (uncountable)

  1. (rare) A magical plant mentioned by John Milton, said to be good against enchantments.
    • 1637, John Milton, A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle, 1634, lines 638-641:
      He called it Hæmony, and gave it me,
      And bad me keep it as of sovran use
      ’Gainst all inchantments, mildew, blast, or damp,
      Or ghastly furies apparition.
    • 1809, Henry John Todd, The Poetical Works of John Milton, page 342:
      It is not agreed whether Milton’s Hæmony is a real or poetical plant.
    • 1970, Sacvan Bercovitch, “Milton's ‘Haemony’: Knowledge and Belief”, in Huntington Library Quarterly, page 351:
      In a recent study of Thyris' magical herb in Comus, John M. Steadman concludes that “haemony means knowledge” from Greek haimon “skillful.”
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:haemony.


  1. ^ Hæmony in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  2. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.