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[poin-set-ee-uh, -set-uh] /pɔɪnˈsɛt i ə, -ˈsɛt ə/
a plant, Euphorbia (Poinsettia) pulcherrima, of the spurge family, native to Mexico and Central America, having variously lobed leaves and brilliant scarlet, pink, or white petallike bracts.
Origin of poinsettia
1830-40; < New Latin, named after J. R. Poinsett (1799-1851), American minister to Mexico, who discovered the plant there in 1828; see -ia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for poinsettia
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Wonder when poinsettia began to be used as a Christmas decoration and why?


    Christopher Morley
  • It is used with pineapple and cherries in the preparation of poinsettia salad, which is illustrated in Fig. 11.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 4 Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
  • "We'll stow away the poinsettia idea for home presents then," said Margaret.

  • Her cheeks matched the poinsettia, or Christmas flower, and her eyes were as blue as the sapphires in the jewel shops.

  • poinsettia pulcherrima is also worthy of particular attention as a noble ornamental flower at this season.

  • She had placed a sprig of holly at each plate, and a vase of poinsettia blossoms graced the centre of the table.

    Patty's Success

    Carolyn Wells
  • Bombay, however, was rich in hedges of poinsettia, and they serve as an introduction to the goldmore's glory.

  • High up are the homes of the well-to-do, beautiful villas set in green gardens relieved by the flaming crimson of the poinsettia.

    Self-Determining Haiti James Weldon Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for poinsettia


a euphorbiaceous shrub, Euphorbia (or Poinsettia) pulcherrima, of Mexico and Central America, widely cultivated for its showy scarlet bracts, which resemble petals
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from the name of J. P. Poinsett (1799–1851), US Minister to Mexico, who introduced it to the US
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 poinsettia

from the genus name (1836), Modern Latin, in recognition of Joel R. Poinsett (1779-1851), U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who is said to have brought the plant to the attention of botanists.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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