- 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
Examples from the Web for narcissi
Mr. Haggard, in his cassock, was arranging the narcissi on the altar.Boy Woodburn
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
- any amaryllidaceous plant of the Eurasian genus Narcissus, esp N. poeticus, whose yellow, orange, or white flowers have a crown surrounded by spreading segments
- 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
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.
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.