soapwort

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n soapwort plant of European origin having pink or white flowers and leaves yielding a detergent when bruised
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Soapwort (Bot) A common plant (Saponaria officinalis) of the Pink family; -- so called because its bruised leaves, when agitated in water, produce a lather like that from soap. Called also Bouncing Bet.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n soapwort A plant of the genus Saponaria, chiefly S. officinalis. It is a smooth perennial herb, a rather stout rambling plant a foot or two high, bearing white or pinkish flowers, native in Europe and western Asia, and running wild from gardens in America. Its leaves and roots abound in saponin; they produce a froth when rubbed in water, and are useful as a cleansing agent. They can be employed with advantage, it is said, in some final processes of washing silk and wool, Imparting a peculiar gloss without injuring the most sensitive color. (Also called bouncing-bet, fuller's-herb, and by many other names. See cut under petal.) S. Vaccaria (Vaccaria vulgaris), the cow-herb, also contains saponin. S. cæspitosa, S. Calabrica, and S. ocymoides are finer European species desirable in culture.
    • n soapwort Any plant of the order Sapindaceæ. Lindley.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Soapwort a genus of plants, some of the species of which have very beautiful flowers, and the root and leaves of which contain saponin, and hence are sometimes used in washing
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Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. sápe; Dut. zeep, Ger. seife.

Usage

In literature:

It was common wayside "Bouncing Bet," but the Harvester called it "soapwort.
"The Harvester" by Gene Stratton Porter
Soapwort, coarsely ground 13 ounces.
"Scientific American Supplement, No. 1157, March 5, 1898" by Various
Dr. Handel prescribes a warm fomentation with a decoction of soapwort.
"The Natural History of Cage Birds" by J. M. Bechstein
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