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[nahr-sis-uh s] /nɑrˈsɪs əs/
noun, plural narcissus, narcissuses, narcissi
[nahr-sis-ee, -sis-ahy] /nɑrˈsɪs i, -ˈsɪs aɪ/ (Show IPA),
for 1, 2.
any bulbous plant belonging to the genus Narcissus, of the amaryllis family, having showy yellow or white flowers with a cup-shaped corona.
the flower of any of these plants.
(initial capital letter) Classical Mythology. a youth who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, whereupon he was transformed into the flower.
Origin of narcissus
1540-50; < Latin < Greek nárkissos plant name, traditionally connected, by virtue of plant's narcotic effects, with nárkē numbness, torpor. See narcotic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for narcissi
Historical Examples
  • narcissi, the fairest among them all, Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess Till they die of their own dear loveliness.

    A Year in a Lancashire Garden Henry Arthur Bright
  • Through a field of narcissi, through the planted violets, past a little vineyard on to the plain below—there the golf course is.

    The Happy Golfer Henry Leach
  • Some might say, Your flowers of narcissi only last a certain time; how are you going to replace them?

    The Wild Garden William Robinson
  • The gardens were full of wall-flowers—the inhabited country smelt of wall-flowers—purple flags, narcissi, hyacinths.

    Mrs. Warren's Daughter Sir Harry Johnston
  • "I've had that said to me before, but I have my doubts about it," remarked skeptical Anne, sniffing at her narcissi.

    Anne Of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • These are narcissi and anemones gathered in thy gardens to please thee.

    The Temptation of St. Antony Gustave Flaubert
  • A bunch in Scilly is a dozen blooms; and therefore those fortunate few took twopence-halfpenny apiece for narcissi.

    The Cornish Coast (South) Charles G. Harper
  • Hyacinths, narcissi, and tulips planted now ought to flower in April.

  • I graze my splendid flocks of white lambs upon the mountains, where the green grass is pied with narcissi.

  • Twenty of his slaves came in yesterday, laden with hyacinths and narcissi, anemones and jonquils.

    Imaginary Conversations and Poems Walter Savage Landor
British Dictionary definitions for narcissi


noun (pl) -cissuses, -cissi (-ˈsɪsaɪ; -ˈsɪsiː)
any amaryllidaceous plant of the Eurasian genus Narcissus, esp N. poeticus, whose yellow, orange, or white flowers have a crown surrounded by spreading segments
Word Origin
C16: via Latin from Greek nárkissos, perhaps from narkē numbness, because of narcotic properties attributed to species of the plant


(Greek myth) a beautiful youth who fell in love with his reflection in a pool and pined away, becoming the flower that bears his name
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 narcissi



type of bulbous flowering plant, 1540s, from Latin narcissus, from Greek narkissos "the narcissus," perhaps from a pre-Greek Aegean word, but associated with Greek narke "numbness" (see narcotic) because of the sedative effect of the alkaloids in the plant.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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narcissi in Culture

Narcissus definition

A beautiful youth in classical mythology who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Because he was unable to tear himself away from the image, he wasted away and died.

Note: “Narcissists” are people completely absorbed in themselves. (See narcissism.)
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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