[ al-kuh-net ]
/ ˈæl kəˌnɛt /


a European plant, Alkanna tinctoria, of the borage family.
the root of this plant, yielding a red dye.
the dye itself.
any of several similar hairy plants, as the bugloss, Anchusa officinalis, or a puccoon of the genus Lithospermum.

Origin of alkanet

1300–50; Middle English < Old Spanish alcaneta, equivalent to alcan(a) henna (plant) (< Medieval Latin alchanna < Arabic al the + hinnā̉ henna) + -eta diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for alkanet

British Dictionary definitions for alkanet


/ (ˈælkəˌnɛt) /


a European boraginaceous plant, Alkanna tinctoria, the roots of which yield a red dye
Also called: anchusin, alkannin the dye obtained from this plant
any of certain hairy blue-flowered Old World plants of the boraginaceous genus Anchusa (or Pentaglottis), such as A. sempervirens of EuropeSee also bugloss
another name for puccoon (def. 1)

Word Origin for alkanet

C14: from Spanish alcaneta, diminutive of alcana henna, from Medieval Latin alchanna, from Arabic al the + hinnā' henna
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 alkanet



"dye material from bugloss plant roots," early 14c., from Spanish alcaneta, diminutive of alcana, from Arabic al-hinna (see henna). As the name of the plant itself, from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper