- any plant belonging to the genus Smilax, of the lily family, growing in tropical and temperate zones, consisting mostly of vines having woody stems.
- a delicate, twining plant, Asparagus asparagoides, of the lily family, having glossy, bright-green, egg-shaped leaves, cultivated by florists.
Origin of smilax
1595–1605; < Latin smīlax bindweed < Greek smîlax bindweed, yew
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for smilax
Smilax, as now used by florists, is but a very recent affair.
The strawberry is no more a plagiarist than the smilax, nor the grape than the nettle.The Foot-path Way
He showed her a cupboard against the wall, half hidden by a canopy of smilax.Regiment of Women
Smilax: caule inermi angulato, foliis cordato-ovatis acutis septemnerviis, pedunculo communi umbellæ (♂) petiolum subæquante.
"For God's sake," I whispered—but Smilax had turned back to us and was beside her.Wings of the Wind
- any typically climbing shrub of the smilacaceous genus Smilax, of warm and tropical regions, having slightly lobed leaves, small greenish or yellow flowers, and berry-like fruits: includes the sarsaparilla plant and greenbrier
- a fragile, much branched liliaceous vine, Asparagus asparagoides, of southern Africa: cultivated by florists for its glossy bright green foliage
C17: via Latin from Greek: bindweed
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 smilax
type of lilaceous plant, c.1600, from Latin, from Greek smilax "blindweed," also used of the yew and a kind of evergreen oak.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper