- any of various plants of the genus Cereus, of the cactus family, having large, usually white, funnel-shaped flowers.
- any of several related, similar plants, especially of the genera Hylocereus, Nyctocereus, and Selenicereus.
Origin of cereus
1720–30; < New Latin, Latin cēreus wax candle, noun use of cēreus cereous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for cereus
It is commonly known as the Opelet, and its scientific name is Anthea cereus.The Sea Shore
William S. Furneaux
It wouldn't seem like a year in our valley if we didn't see your cereus in bloom.The Brimming Cup
Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Grafted on to a Cereus or Opuntia it is healthier than when on its own roots.
This species resembles some of the angular-stemmed kinds of Cereus.
Some of the kinds thrive best when grafted on to a thin-stemmed Cereus.
- any tropical American cactus of the genus Cereus, esp C. jamacaru of N Brazil, which grows to a height of 13 metres (40 feet)
- any of several similar and related cacti, such as the night-blooming cereus
C18: from New Latin, from Latin cēreus a wax taper, from cēra wax
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 cereus
cactus genus, 1730, from Latin cereus "waxen, waxy," from cera "wax" (see cere (n.)). So called from its shape, which suggests a candle.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper