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Senior Member
And Othello told her, he could have borne all sorts of evils with fortitude — poverty, and disease, and disgrace; but her infidelity had broken his heart: and he called her a weed, that looked so fair, and smelled so sweet, that the sense ached at it; and wished she had never been born.

Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb

Does 'weed' in this passage mean something more than a wild plant?

Please help. Thank you.
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, weed is used as a derogatory term for a person who is (i) unwanted because of their character or (ii) physically weak. Here, Othello is using the first definition.


    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    A weed in the literal sense is specifically an unwanted wild plant which grows in a space you are trying to cultivate. Some weeds might produce attractive flowers, but they are still harmful to your garden.
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