• 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

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