- 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
Examples from the Web for centaury
Wormwood and centaury, beaten up with aloes and colocynth, and applied over the belly.
Centaury, common in our fields, enjoyed a very early reputation.The Mystery and Romance of Alchemy and Pharmacy
Charles John Samuel Thompson
Mr. Farn recorded six or seven from Ryde in July, 1870; they were feeding on vine and centaury in a garden.The Moths of the British Isles, First Series
- any Eurasian plant of the genus Centaurium, esp C. erythraea, having purplish-pink flowers and formerly believed to have medicinal properties: family Gentianaceae
- any plant of the genus Centaurea, which includes the cornflower and knapweed: family Compositae (composites)
Word Origin and History for centaury
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).