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  1. any of several bulbous plants of the genus Hippeastrum, especially H. puniceum, which has large red or pink flowers and is popular as a houseplant.Compare amaryllis family.
  2. Also called belladonna lily, naked lady. a related plant, Amaryllis belladonna, having clusters of usually rose-colored flowers.
  3. any of several other similar or related plants.
  4. (initial capital letter) a shepherdess or country girl, especially in classical and later pastoral poetry.

Origin of amaryllis

1785–95; < Latin: name of a shepherdess in Vergil's Eclogues


  1. a female given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amaryllis

Historical Examples

  • Amaryllis Formosissima was in bloom in one week after I planted the bulb.

    The Mayflower, January, 1905


  • The woman fell backwards, and Amaryllis caught her from behind.

  • For that Amaryllis was in that house he had less doubt than proof.

  • Amaryllis thrust her hand deep into the Brundage pocket, rummaging.

  • Amaryllis rose to leave them together, but her father stopped her.

British Dictionary definitions for amaryllis


  1. Also called: belladonna lily an amaryllidaceous plant, Amaryllis belladonna, native to southern Africa and having large lily-like reddish or white flowers
  2. any of several related plants, esp hippeastrum

Word Origin

C18: from New Latin, from Latin: named after Amaryllis


  1. (in pastoral poetry) a name for a shepherdess or country girl
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

Word Origin and History for amaryllis


autumn-flowering bulbs, 1794, adopted by Linnaeus from Latin, from Greek Amaryllis, typical name of a country girl or shepherdess (in Theocritus, Virgil, Ovid, etc.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper