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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for narcissi
Historical Examples
  • Mr. Haggard, in his cassock, was arranging the narcissi on the altar.

    Boy Woodburn Alfred Ollivant
  • Also some narcissi and a few tulips—pink ones for the drawing-room.

    Sally Bishop E. Temple Thurston
  • The air was dim and coloured from the windows and thrilled with a subtle scent of lilies and narcissi.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • Collecting a few bundles of the narcissi that bloomed abundantly about the cottages, he sent them to Covent Garden Market.

    Nooks and Corners of Cornwall C. A. Dawson Scott
  • The ground beneath them was bespattered with narcissi and anemones, the very olive trees looked gay.

    The Making of a Saint William Somerset Maugham
  • In this respect the place actually rivals Tresco, and the fields of narcissi are as luxuriant as those of the Scillies.

    The Cornwall Coast Arthur L. Salmon
  • A peculiar fungoid disease, known as "basal rot," attacks Daffodils and narcissi in soil that is cold and heavy or badly drained.

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

  • 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
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 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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