1. Any of various annual herbs of the genus Nigella of the buttercup family, native to Eurasia and North Africa, having finely dissected leaves, showy white, blue, or yellow solitary flowers, and an aggregate fruit composed of several follicles, including love-in-a-mist.
2. See black cumin.
[Middle English, from Late Latin, black cumin, from feminine of Latin nigellus, blackish, diminutive of niger, black; see nekw-t- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.