- a plant, Medicago sativa, of the legume family, usually having bluish-purple flowers, originating in the Near East and widely cultivated as a forage crop.
Origin of alfalfa
1835–45; < Spanish, variant of alfalfez < Spanish Arabic al the + faṣfaṣah < Persian ispist lucerne
Also called lucerne, purple medic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- another name for alfalfa
- a leguminous plant, Medicago sativa, of Europe and Asia, having compound leaves with three leaflets and clusters of small purplish flowers. It is widely cultivated for forage and as a nitrogen fixer and used as a commercial source of chlorophyllAlso called: lucerne
C19: from Spanish, from Arabic al-fasfasah, from al the + fasfasah the best sort of fodder
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
Word Origin and History for purple medic
1845, from Spanish alfalfa, earlier alfalfez, from Arabic al-fisfisa "fresh fodder."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper