1. an imaginary, undying flower.
  2. any plant of the genus Amaranthus, some species of which are cultivated as food and some for their showy flower clusters or foliage.Compare amaranth family.
  3. Chemistry. a purplish-red, water-soluble powder, C20H11N2O10Na3, an azo dye used chiefly to color pharmaceuticals, food, and garments.
  4. purpleheart.

Origin of amaranth

1545–55; < Latin amarantus, alteration of Greek amáranton unfading flower, noun use of neuter singular of amárantos, equivalent to a- a-6 + maran- (stem of maraínein to fade) + -tos verbal adjective suffix; -th- < Greek ánthos flower Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for amaranth

Contemporary Examples of amaranth

Historical Examples of amaranth

  • Their heads were crowned with garlands of amaranth and roses.


    William Godwin

  • In his case the amaranth had been grafted in, and the plant was blossoming again.

    Earl Hubert's Daughter

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • For her the amaranth of the empyreal Heaven is as comfortless as the adamant of Hell.


    Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh

  • Are there really fields of amaranth for those who can find them?

  • The amaranth was her chosen emblem, and "Non moritura" her motto.

British Dictionary definitions for amaranth


  1. poetic an imaginary flower that never fades
  2. any of numerous tropical and temperate plants of the genus Amaranthus, having tassel-like heads of small green, red, or purple flowers: family AmaranthaceaeSee also love-lies-bleeding, tumbleweed, pigweed (def. 1)
  3. a synthetic red food colouring (E123), used in packet soups, cake mixes, etc

Word Origin for amaranth

C17: from Latin amarantus, from Greek amarantos unfading, from a- 1 + marainein to fade
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 amaranth

1610s, from French amarante, from Latin amarantus, from Greek amarantos, name of an unfading flower, literally "everlasting," from a- "not" + stem of marainein "die away, waste away, quench, extinguish," from PIE *mer- "to rub away, harm" (see nightmare). In classical use, a poet's word for an imaginary flower that never fades. It was applied to a genus of ornamental plants 1550s. Ending influenced by plant names with Greek -anthos "flower."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper