[ surn-yoo-uhs, sur-noo- ]
/ ˈsɜrn yu əs, ˈsɜr nu- /
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adjective Botany.
drooping, as a flower; nodding.
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Origin of cernuous

1645–55; <Latin cernuus falling forwards, face down; see -ous

Words nearby cernuous

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does cernuous mean?

Cernuous means drooping or nodding, as with the flower on a plant.

In botany, cernuous describes a plant or flower that is drooping or nodding. Some plants, like the bleeding heart, are naturally cernuous. The bleeding heart hangs by its own weight and grows healthily as a result. Other plants, like hyacinths, are meant to grow straight up. If hyacinths become cernuous, they are wilting or dying.

Example: Your persimmons are cernuous because they are not getting enough water.

Where does cernuous come from?

The first records of the term cernuous come from around the 1640s. It comes from the Latin cernuus, meaning “falling downward,” or “face down.”

Cernuous is sometimes used outside of botany to describe things that droop or hang, such as a person when they are slouching or sad. The term is also sometimes used in architecture or engineering to describe something that is leaning forward in order to achieve a visual or technical benefit.

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What are some synonyms for cernuous?

What are some words that often get used in discussing cernuous?

How is cernuous used in real life?

Cernuous is an uncommon term used mostly by botanists and home gardeners who are very serious about the science and upkeep of their plants.

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Try using cernuous!

Is cernuous used correctly in the following sentence?

“My garden is full of cernuous plants, all straight and tall.”

How to use cernuous in a sentence

  • The stipe is usually white above, fuscous below, at the apex almost evanescent; hence the cernuous sporangia.

    The North American Slime-Moulds|Thomas H. (Thomas Huston) MacBride

British Dictionary definitions for cernuous

/ (ˈsɜːnjʊəs) /

botany (of some flowers or buds) drooping

Word Origin for cernuous

C17: from Latin cernuus leaning forwards, of obscure origin
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