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[tril-ee-uh m] /ˈtrɪl i əm/
any of several plants belonging to the genus Trillium, of the lily family, having a whorl of three leaves from the center of which rises a solitary, three-petalled flower.
Origin of trillium
< New Latin (Linnaeus), apparently alteration of Swedish trilling triplet, alluding to the foliation Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for trillium
Historical Examples
  • Then there is a large number of flowers the parts of which go in threes, one of the best known of which is the trillium.

    Under the Maples John Burroughs
  • "All of the same everlasting old pattern," grumbled a trillium.

    A Round Dozen Susan Coolidge
  • Mr. John Burroughs says his sign is the wake-robin, or trillium.

    The Spring of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
  • I plucked my first dandelion on a meadow slope on the 23d, and in the woods, protected by a high ledge, my first trillium.

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • Through these the timid Awakening spirit lifts its head like the first trillium of the year.

  • Every variety of bloom seemed of exaggerated growth, but the trillium exceeded all.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • Many of these names are applied also to other species of trillium.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
  • The starry flowers of the trillium hung on long peduncles, and the two-inch diameter of the ordinary blossom was doubled.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • Hepaticas nearly always grow on the same slope, but they come into blossom about two days later than the trillium.

    Some Spring Days in Iowa Frederick John Lazell
  • Find the ripened seed pods of the trillium, open them, count the number of chambers, and examine the seeds.

    Ontario Teachers' Manuals: Nature Study Ontario Ministry of Education
British Dictionary definitions for trillium


any herbaceous plant of the genus Trillium, of Asia and North America, having a whorl of three leaves at the top of the stem with a single central white, pink, or purple three-petalled flower: family Trilliaceae
Word Origin
C18: from New Latin, modification by Linnaeus of Swedish trilling triplet
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 trillium

1768, from Modern Latin trillium (Linnaeus, 1753), from Latin tri- "three" (see three). So called for its leaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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