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[gahr-dee-nyuh, -nee-uh] /gɑrˈdi nyə, -ni ə/
any evergreen tree or shrub belonging to the genus Gardenia, of the madder family, native to the warmer parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, cultivated for its usually large, fragrant white flowers.
the flower of any of these plants.
Origin of gardenia
< New Latin (1760), after Alexander Garden (1730-91), American physician; see -ia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gardenia
Historical Examples
  • The gardenia flowers now so much favored for wearing are expensive.

  • The fellow is to wear a white top hat, and a gardenia in his buttonhole.

  • Tearing the gardenia from her breast, she flung it on to his upturned face.

    Saint's Progress John Galsworthy
  • Creamy looking posies, kind of kin to a gardenia, seems to me!

    The Thing from the Lake

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • He was like the anarchist with a gardenia in his buttonhole who figures in the higher melodrama.

    The Reef Edith Wharton
  • The scent of the gardenia was strong in her little bedroom, and pleasant to her.

    The Forsyte Saga, Complete John Galsworthy
  • When he returned, Sassafras always noticed a gardenia in his button-hole.

    The Woman Gives

    Owen Johnson
  • An orchid, a gardenia, even a hyacinth, was never to be seen in the little house.

    In the Wilderness Robert Hichens
  • Sarah Hopkins refers to Genevieve and Roberta and me as gardenia girls!

    Flappers and Philosophers F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • And now what will you wear in your button-hole—a gardenia, or some violets?

    Peter F. Hopkinson Smith
British Dictionary definitions for gardenia


any evergreen shrub or tree of the Old World tropical rubiaceous genus Gardenia, cultivated for their large fragrant waxlike typically white flowers
the flower of any of these shrubs
Word Origin
C18: New Latin, named after Dr Alexander Garden (1730–91), American botanist
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 gardenia

1757, Modern Latin, named for Scottish-born American naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Vice President of the Royal Society.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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