[seer-ee-uh s]

noun, plural ce·re·us·es.

any of various plants of the genus Cereus, of the cactus family, having large, usually white, funnel-shaped flowers.
any of several related, similar plants, especially of the genera Hylocereus, Nyctocereus, and Selenicereus.

Origin of cereus

1720–30; < New Latin, Latin cēreus wax candle, noun use of cēreus cereous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cereus

Historical Examples of cereus

  • It is commonly known as the Opelet, and its scientific name is Anthea cereus.

    The Sea Shore

    William S. Furneaux

  • It wouldn't seem like a year in our valley if we didn't see your cereus in bloom.

    The Brimming Cup

    Dorothy Canfield Fisher

  • Grafted on to a Cereus or Opuntia it is healthier than when on its own roots.

  • Some of the kinds thrive best when grafted on to a thin-stemmed Cereus.

  • This species resembles some of the angular-stemmed kinds of Cereus.

British Dictionary definitions for cereus



any tropical American cactus of the genus Cereus, esp C. jamacaru of N Brazil, which grows to a height of 13 metres (40 feet)
any of several similar and related cacti, such as the night-blooming cereus

Word Origin for cereus

C18: from New Latin, from Latin cēreus a wax taper, from cēra wax
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 cereus



cactus genus, 1730, from Latin cereus "waxen, waxy," from cera "wax" (see cere (n.)). So called from its shape, which suggests a candle.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper