[Herbalist] Wort

jenne@fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Mon Feb 23 06:21:57 PST 2004

> Recently I got into a discussion about the meaning of
> the word Wort
> I thought Wort meant Useful, as in it was a lable
> added to a descriptive name- Soap wort, Bladder wort.

Actually, according to the OED (Oxford English dictionary), a wort is:
"  1. A plant, herb, or vegetable, used for food or medicine; often =
2. A general name for any plant of the cabbage kind, genus Brassica;
colewort. Obs.
3. pl.    a. = POTTAGE 1. Obs.
b. With qualifying word: esp. long worts.
 4. Comb., as wort blade, -leaf, -plant, porridge; wort-blue adj.;
wort-cropper, a name for the hare; wort-cunning (pseudo-arch.), the
knowledge of herbs and plants; wort-stock, a cabbage-stalk; wort-yard, a
herb-garden. "

so, it's a green plant. There's an often-seen SCA-period recipe called
"buttered worts" where you take any of what we would now call greens, and
cook them in water with butter. YUM!

> what are the origins of this word?

According to the OED:
Old English. wyrt: root, plant = Old Saxon. wurt, Old High German.
(Middle High German. and German.) wurz, Old Norse. (Icel.,
Norw., Sw., Da.) urt, Gothic. waurts; the stem is related to those of
Old Norse.  rót ROOT n., and of Latin. radix, and a greek word that
doesn't reproduce.

-- Pani Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Knowledge Pika jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
"If God is satisfied with the work, the work may be satisfied with
itself."  --  C.S. Lewis

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