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aspidistra

[as-pi-dis-truh]
noun
  1. any of several plants belonging to the genus Aspidistra, of the lily family, native to eastern Asia, especially A. eliator, having large evergreen leaves often striped with white, and grown as a houseplant.
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Origin of aspidistra

1815–25; < New Latin, equivalent to aspid- (< Greek: stem of aspís shield) + -istra, extracted from Tupistra genus of liliaceous plants < Greek typís mallet + Latin -tra plural of -trum noun suffix denoting instrument
Also called barroom plant, cast-iron plant, iron plant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for aspidistra

Historical Examples

  • The modesty of the violet is nowhere when compared with the aspidistra!

    Small Gardens

    Violet Purton Biddle

  • An aspidistra (please note spelling) is the best plant there is for roughing it.

    Small Gardens

    Violet Purton Biddle

  • The open inner door showed a bright linoleum on the floor, and the end of a brown side-board on which stood an aspidistra.

    Aaron's Rod

    D. H. Lawrence


British Dictionary definitions for aspidistra

aspidistra

noun
  1. any Asian plant of the liliaceous genus Aspidistra, esp A. lurida, a popular house plant with long tough evergreen leaves and purplish flowers borne on the ground
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Word Origin

C19: from New Latin, from Greek aspis shield, on the model of Tupistra genus of liliaceous plants
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