• synonyms


or cam·as

[kam-uh s]
  1. any of several plants of the genus Camassia, of the lily family, especially C. quamash, of western North America, having long clusters of blue to white flowers and edible bulbs.
  2. death camass.
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Origin of camass

1795–1805, Americanism; < Chinook Jargon qamaš, qawaš < Nootka qawaš-, qawi- salmonberry, any berry or small fruit
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for camas

Historical Examples

  • When he awoke he lay under an arbutus-tree in a meadow of camas.

    The Book of the National Parks

    Robert Sterling Yard

  • Of the camas we will make flour and bread when we have got a fire.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • A May snowstorm whitened the camas meadows and melted again.

    The Conquest

    Eva Emery Dye

  • Near Camas Creek, they had an engagement with the pursuing troops.

    The Yellowstone National Park

    Hiram Martin Chittenden

  • So did Camas, and the two rushed into the water and began their swim of hate.

British Dictionary definitions for camas



  1. Also called: quamash any of several North American plants of the liliaceous genus Camassia, esp C. quamash, which has a cluster of blue or white flowers and a sweet edible bulb
  2. death camass any liliaceous plant of the genus Zygadenus (or Zigadenus), of the western US, that is poisonous to livestock, esp sheep
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Word Origin

C19: from Chinook Jargon kamass, from Nootka chamas sweet
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