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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 narcissus
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • So also in some semi-double varieties of narcissus poeticus, and in Aquilegia.

    Vegetable Teratology Maxwell T. Masters
  • To listen to him was to believe that narcissus had come to life again.

    Nights Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • narcissus and his confederates were greatly alarmed, and determined immediately that this must not be.

    Nero Jacob Abbott
  • Nevin's "narcissus" happened to be included in his first set of rolls.

    The Pianolist Gustav Kobb
  • Give a plentiful supply of water in saucers to narcissus, or other bulbs when flowering.

    Flowers and Flower-Gardens David Lester Richardson
  • narcissus and the others who were near, interposed to prevent her from being heard.

    Nero Jacob Abbott
  • Like narcissus of old, the lover may see his other self mirrored in the quiet waters.

British Dictionary definitions for narcissus


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 narcissus

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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narcissus 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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