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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for trillium
Historical Examples
  • Mr. John Burroughs says his sign is the wake-robin, or trillium.

    The Spring of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
  • Many of these names are applied also to other species of trillium.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding
  • "All of the same everlasting old pattern," grumbled a trillium.

    A Round Dozen Susan Coolidge
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • So the trillium, who was telegraph operator, stooped down and dragged up a thread-like root, fine as wire.

    A Round Dozen Susan Coolidge
  • Every variety of bloom seemed of exaggerated growth, but the trillium exceeded all.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • 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
  • Through these the timid Awakening spirit lifts its head like the first trillium of the year.

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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