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  1. a West Indian shrub, Indigofera suffruticosa, of the legume family, having elongated clusters of small, reddish-yellow flowers and yielding indigo.
  2. indigo; deep blue.

Origin of anil

1575–85; < Portuguese < Arabic an-nīl, equivalent to al the + nīl indigo < Sanskrit nīlī indigo (nīl(a) dark blue + feminine noun suffix)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for anil


  1. a leguminous West Indian shrub, Indigofera suffruticosa: a source of indigoAlso called: indigo

Word Origin

C16: from Portuguese, from Arabic an-nīl, the indigo, from Sanskrit nīla dark blue
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 anil


West Indian shrub, 1580s, from French or Portuguese anil (see aniline).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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