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See also: Yarrow


a yarrow plant Achillea millefolium


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English ȝarowe, yarowe, yarwe, from Old English ġearwe, from Proto-West Germanic *garwu (yarrow, yarrow-like herbs), perhaps a variant of *garu (prepared, ready (of food)), as the plant was used medicinally for digestion.[1][2]

Cognate with Dutch gerw (yarrow) and German (Schaf-)garbe.


yarrow (usually uncountable, plural yarrows)

  1. Any of several pungent Eurasian and North American herbs, of the genus Achillea, used in traditional herbal medicine.
    • 1922, Eleanour Sinclair Rohde, The Old English Herbals[1], Longmans, Green and Co.:
      Yarrow is one of the aboriginal English plants, and from time immemorial it has been used in incantations and by witches. Country folk still regard it as one of our most valuable herbs, especially for rheumatism.
  2. Common yarrow, Achillea millefolium, the type species of the genus.
    • 1612, Michael Drayton, Poly-Olbion, song 13 p. 218:
      The Yarrow, where-with-all he stops the wound-made gore:
    • 1979, Victor Kaplan, The Woman who Gathered Yarrow; The Box; Miss Vesey's Other Leg, →ISBN, page 11:
      “Oh, yarrow! This is it,” she said, extracting a single long stemmed ferny grass with clusters of small white flowers from the bouquet in her hand.


  1. ^ Friedrich Kluge (1883), “Garbe”, in , John Francis Davis, transl., Etymological Dictionary of the German Language, published 1891
  2. ^ van der Sijs, Nicoline, editor (2010), “gerwe”, in Etymologiebank, Meertens Institute

Further reading[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

a green woodpecker, Picus viridis

Origin unknown. Perhaps imitative of the bird's cry; compare yaffle, hewhole.


yarrow (plural yarrows)

  1. (UK) A green woodpecker, of species Picus viridis.

Further reading[edit]