- any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy, white or purplish flowers.Compare acanthus family.
- an architectural ornament, as in the Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.
Origin of acanthus
1610–20; < New Latin, Latin < Greek ákanthos bear's-foot
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for acanthus
These resolutions were passed, and the deputies from Acanthus rose again.Hellenica
This basket happened to be placed just above the root of an acanthus.Ten Books on Architecture
The 519 shape of the acanthus leaves is not that characteristic of the pre-Roman period.Pompeii, Its Life and Art
In Italy the name of Branca orsina is given to the Acanthus.
Theocritus speaks of a prize cup as having a crust of soft Acanthus.
- any shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family AcanthaceaeSee also bear's-breech
- a carved ornament based on the leaves of the acanthus plant, esp as used on the capital of a Corinthian column
C17: New Latin, from Greek akanthos, from akantha thorn, spine
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 acanthus
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper