[kahr-ney-shuh n]


any of numerous cultivated varieties of the clove pink, Dianthus caryophyllus, having long-stalked, fragrant, usually double flowers in a variety of colors: the state flower of Ohio.
pink; light red.
Obsolete. the color of flesh.


having the color carnation.

Origin of carnation

1525–35; < Late Latin carnātiōn- (stem of carnātiō) fleshlikeness, hence flesh-color, equivalent to Latin carn- (stem of carō) flesh + -ātiōn- -ation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for carnation

Contemporary Examples of carnation

Historical Examples of carnation

  • Lily sits upon the settee by the piano and fastens the carnation in her dress.

  • No woman ever combined a carnation and a rosebud into a boutonniere.

  • May flushed a little, and put her hand consciously to the carnation at her throat.

    Love in a Cloud

    Arlo Bates

  • Then off she ran after her father, who had only changed one carnation for another.

  • Fig. 52 shows an oleander cutting at a, a carnation at b, and a geranium at c.

    The Nursery Book

    Liberty Hyde Bailey

British Dictionary definitions for carnation



Also called: clove pink a Eurasian caryophyllaceous plant, Dianthus caryophyllus, cultivated in many varieties for its white, pink, or red flowers, which have a fragrant scent of cloves
the flower of this plant
  1. a pink or reddish-pink colour
  2. (as adjective)a carnation dress
(often plural) a flesh tint in painting

Word Origin for carnation

C16: from French: flesh colour, from Late Latin carnātiō fleshiness, from Latin carō flesh
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 carnation

"Dianthus Caryophyllus," commonly also called "pink," herbaceous perennial flowering plant native to southern Europe and abundant in Normandy, 1530s, of uncertain origin. The early forms are confused; perhaps (on evidence of early spellings) it is a corruption of coronation, from the flower's being used in chaplets or from the toothed crown-like look of the petals.

Or it might be called for its pinkness and derive from Middle French carnation "person's color or complexion" (15c.), which probably is from Italian dialectal carnagione "flesh color," from Late Latin carnationem (nominative carnatio) "fleshiness," from Latin caro "flesh" (see carnage). This carnation had been borrowed separately into English as "color of human flesh" (1530s) and as an adjective meaning "flesh-colored" (1560s; the earliest use of the word in English was to mean "the incarnation of Christ," mid-14c.). OED points out that not all the flowers are this color.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper