• synonyms


[kal-uh-muh s]
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noun, plural cal·a·mi [kal-uh-mahy] /ˈkæl əˌmaɪ/.
  1. the sweet flag, Acorus calamus.
  2. its aromatic root.
  3. any of various tropical Asian palms of the genus Calamus, some of which are a source of rattan.
  4. the hollow base of a feather; a quill.
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Origin of calamus

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek kálamos reed, stalk
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

plume, fringe, plumage, shaft, fluff, crest, down, spike, fin, wing, calamus, pompon, pinna, plumule, quill, pinion, penna

Examples from the Web for calamus

Historical Examples

  • One of the genus Calamus, used for wicker-work, seats of chairs, &c.

    The Sailor's Word-Book

    William Henry Smyth

  • Calamus, also derived from the Greek, means a reed or reed-like plant.

  • Sin-skuskba, which some Ponkas said was the calamus, is now very rare.

  • It resembles sweet-flag (Calamus) and has been mistaken for it.

    Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants

    A. R. (Arthur Robert) Harding

  • Walt was thirty-six when Leaves appeared; forty-one when Calamus was written.

British Dictionary definitions for calamus


noun plural -mi (-ˌmaɪ)
  1. any tropical Asian palm of the genus Calamus, some species of which are a source of rattan and canes
  2. another name for sweet flag
  3. the aromatic root of the sweet flag
  4. ornithol the basal hollow shaft of a feather; quill
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Word Origin

C14: from Latin, from Greek kalamos reed, cane, stem
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