[uh-lis-uh m]


any of various plants belonging to the genus Alyssum, of the mustard family, having clusters of small yellow or white flowers.
any of several related plants of the genus Aurinia, as A. saxatilis, a widely cultivated species with yellow flowers.

Origin of alyssum

1545–55; < New Latin; Latin alysson < Greek, neuter of ályssos curing (canine) madness, equivalent to a- a-6 + lýss(a) madness + -os adj. suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for alyssum

Historical Examples of alyssum

  • And yours, Alyssum, the one we call Pepper-grass, because he is so fiery?'

  • The alyssum and candytuft came out, and the house was sweet with tuberoses.

  • Well, I would get in my sweet peas and risk my pansies and alyssum, anyhow.

    The Jonathan Papers

    Elisabeth Woodbridge Morris

  • Alyssum, white, dwarf for borders; six inches; blooms all summer if not allowed to go to seed.

    A Woman's Hardy Garden

    Helena Rutherfurd Ely

  • Free–growing spring–flowers like Aubrietia, Alyssum, and Iberis, may be multiplied to any extent by division or cuttings.

    The Wild Garden

    William Robinson

British Dictionary definitions for alyssum



any widely cultivated herbaceous garden plant of the genus Alyssum, having clusters of small yellow or white flowers: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also sweet alyssum, alison

Word Origin for alyssum

C16: from New Latin, from Greek alusson, from alussos (adj) curing rabies, referring to the ancient belief in the plant's healing properties
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 alyssum



genus name for plants of the mustard family, 1550s, from Latin alysson, from Greek alysson, which is perhaps the neuter of adjective alyssos "curing madness," from privative prefix a- + lyssa "madness, rage, fury."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper