AskDefine | Define hemlock

Dictionary Definition



1 poisonous drug derived from an Eurasian plant of the genus Conium; "Socrates refused to flee and died by drinking hemlock"
2 large branching biennial herb native to Eurasia and Africa and adventive in North America having large fernlike leaves and white flowers; usually found in damp habitats; all parts extremely poisonous [syn: poison hemlock, poison parsley, California fern, Nebraska fern, winter fern, Conium maculatum]
3 soft coarse splintery wood of a hemlock tree especially the western hemlock
4 an evergreen tree [syn: hemlock tree]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Any of several coniferous trees, of the genus Tsuga, that grow in North America; the wood of such trees
  2. Any of several poisonous umbelliferous plants, of the genera Conium and Cicuta; the poison obtained from these plants


  • Finnish: hemlokki
  • Japanese: ツガ
poisonous plant
  • Finnish: myrkkykatko
  • Italian: cicuta
  • Japanese: ドクニンジン (for Conium), ドクゼリ (for Cicuta)
  • Spanish: cicuta

Extensive Definition

The word hemlock may refer to:
  • Conium, or more specifically, Conium maculatum, a common European herb that contains the alkaloid coniine and was probably the state poison of Ancient Greece, and the purported poison used in the execution of Socrates.
  • Several other poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae) are sometimes called hemlock:
  • Tsuga, a genus of conifers originally named "hemlocks" due to a perceived similarity in the scent of the crushed foliage to that of Conium.

Other uses

hemlock in German: Schierling
hemlock in French: Ciguë
hemlock in Polish: Cykuta
hemlock in Chinese: 毒堇

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

beheading, belladonna, burning, capital punishment, castor-oil plant, crucifixion, deadly nightshade, death camas, decapitation, decollation, defenestration, electrocution, ergot, execution, foxglove, fusillade, garrote, gassing, hanging, henbane, horsetail, jimsonweed, judicial murder, lapidation, mayapple, mescal bean, monkshood, necktie party, poison ivy, poison parsley, poison sumac, poisoning, pokeweed, shooting, stoning, strangling, strangulation, the ax, the block, the chair, the gallows, the gas chamber, the guillotine, the hot seat, the rope
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