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[glad-ee-oh-luh s] /ˌglæd iˈoʊ ləs/
noun, plural gladiolus, gladioli
[glad-ee-oh-lahy] /ˌglæd iˈoʊ laɪ/ (Show IPA),
gladioluses for 1; gladioli for 2.
any plant of the genus Gladiolus, of the iris family, native especially to Africa, having erect, sword-shaped leaves and spikes of flowers in a variety of colors.
Anatomy. the middle and largest segment of the sternum.
Compare manubrium (def 2a), xiphisternum.
Origin of gladiolus
1560-70; < Latin: small sword, sword lily, equivalent to gladi(us) sword + -olus -ole1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for gladiolus
Historical Examples
  • I know men who fall like this into the iris, the dahlia, the gladiolus and the peony.

    Child and Country Will Levington Comfort
  • gladiolus, anemones, roses, and mignonette fill the air with fragrance.

  • To secure the best effect from it, the gladiolus should be planted in masses.

    Amateur Gardencraft Eben E. Rexford
  • The Tuberose may be used in the garden with the same effect as the gladiolus.

    A Garden with House Attached Sarah Warner Brooks
  • They are said to be superior to any gladiolus hitherto introduced.

    Talks about Flowers. M. D. Wellcome
  • Plant anemone and ranunculus roots and the corms of gladiolus.

  • The best example in which this method of increase is practised is the gladiolus.

    Beautiful Bulbous Plants John Weathers
  • For decorative purposes the gladiolus is fast becoming indispensable.

    The Gladiolus

    Matthew Crawford
  • The gladiolus is a bulbous plant that grows only in the warm season of the year.

    The Gladiolus

    Matthew Crawford
  • The gladiolus will grow on almost any soil, and do well with only a moderate chance.

    The Gladiolus

    Matthew Crawford
British Dictionary definitions for gladiolus


noun (pl) -lus, -li (-laɪ), -luses
Also called sword lily, gladiola. any iridaceous plant of the widely cultivated genus Gladiolus, having sword-shaped leaves and spikes of funnel-shaped brightly coloured flowers
(anatomy) the large central part of the breastbone
Word Origin
C16: from Latin: a small sword, sword lily, from gladius a sword
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 gladiolus

c.1000, from Latin gladiolus "wild iris," literally "small sword," diminutive of gladius "sword" (see gladiator); so called by Pliny in reference to the plant's sword-shaped leaves. The Old English form of the word was gladdon. Form gladiol is attested mid-15c.; the modern use perhaps represents a 1560s reborrowing from Latin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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gladiolus in Medicine

gladiolus glad·i·o·lus (glād'ē-ō'ləs)
n. pl. glad·i·o·lus·es or glad·i·o·li (-lī)
The large middle section of the sternum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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