• synonyms


or or·rice

[awr-is, or-]
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  1. an iris, Iris germanica florentina, having a fragrant rootstock.

Origin of orris1

First recorded in 1535–45; unexplained alteration of iris


[awr-is, or-]
  1. a lace or braid made of gold or silver, much used in the 18th century.
  2. a galloon used in upholstering.

Origin of orris2

1695–1705; perhaps alteration (by influence of arras tapestry) of earlier orfrays orphrey
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for orris

Historical Examples

  • Up from them lifted a fragrance that rivaled even that of orris root.

    The Rich Little Poor Boy

    Eleanor Gates

  • I embrace the opportunity of writing to you by the favour of Mrs. Orris.

  • In a moment she had gone, distributing as she went a faint, sweet smell of orris.

    The Monster

    Edgar Saltus

  • Orris root, which is used in perfumery, is the stem of the Iris florentina.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

  • He asked further questions about Jellies, Orris, and the ten bicycles.

    Gray youth

    Oliver Onions

British Dictionary definitions for orris



  1. any of various irises, esp Iris florentina, that have fragrant rhizomes
  2. Also called: 'orrisroot the rhizome of such a plant, prepared and used as perfume

Word Origin

C16: variant of iris


  1. a kind of lace made of gold or silver, used esp in the 18th century

Word Origin

from Old French orfreis, from Latin auriphrygium Phrygian gold
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