any of various plants belonging to the genus Centaurium, of the gentian family, having clusters of small pink or red flowers.
any of several other plants of the genera Centaurea and Sabatia.
Origin of centaury
before 1000;Middle English,Old Englishcentaurie < Medieval Latincentauria, apparently < Greekkentaúria, neuter plural (taken in ML as feminine singular) of kentaúrion, noun use of neuter of kentaúrios (adj.), equivalent to kéntaur(os) centaur + -ios adj. suffix; said to be in reference to the centaur Chiron, known for his knowledge of medicinal plants
small plant with red flowers (now usually erythraea Centaureum), late 14c., from Medieval Latin centaurea, from Latin centaureum, from Greek kentaureion, from kentauros "centaur" (see centaur), so called according to Pliny because the plant's medicinal properties were discovered by Chiron the centaur.
German Tausendgüldenkraut is based on a mistranslation of the Latin word, as if from centum + aurum (the similarity might be the result of Roman folk etymology).