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[uh-kan-thuh s] /əˈkæn θəs/
noun, plural acanthuses, acanthi
[uh-kan-thahy] /əˈkæn θaɪ/ (Show IPA)
any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy, white or purplish flowers.
Compare acanthus family.
an architectural ornament, as in the Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.
Origin of acanthus
1610-20; < New Latin, Latin < Greek ákanthos bear's-foot
Related forms
[uh-kan-thin, -thahyn] /əˈkæn θɪn, -θaɪn/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for acanthus


noun (pl) -thuses, -thi (-θaɪ)
any shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family Acanthaceae See also bear's-breech
a carved ornament based on the leaves of the acanthus plant, esp as used on the capital of a Corinthian column
Word Origin
C17: New Latin, from Greek akanthos, from akantha thorn, spine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for acanthus

1660s, from Latin acanthus, from Greek akanthos, from ake "point, thorn" (see acrid) + anthos "flower" (see anther). So called for its large spiny leaves. A conventionalized form of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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