[ si-truh s ]
/ ˈsɪ trəs /

noun, plural cit·rus·es.

any small tree or spiny shrub of the genus Citrus, of the rue family, including the lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, citron, kumquat, and shaddock, widely cultivated for fruit or grown as an ornamental.
the tart-to-sweet, pulpy fruit of any of these trees or shrubs, having a characteristically smooth, shiny, stippled skin.


Also cit·rous. of or relating to such trees or shrubs, or their fruit.

Nearby words

  1. citronellol,
  2. citrovorum factor,
  3. citrulline,
  4. citrullinemia,
  5. citrullinuria,
  6. citrus canker,
  7. citrus greening disease,
  8. citrus heights,
  9. citrus red mite,
  10. citrus whitefly

Origin of citrus

1815–25; < New Latin, Latin: citron tree Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for citrus

British Dictionary definitions for citrus


/ (ˈsɪtrəs) /

noun plural -ruses

any tree or shrub of the tropical and subtropical rutaceous genus Citrus, which includes the orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, citron, and calamondin

adjective Also: citrous

of, relating to, or belonging to the genus Citrus or to the fruits of plants of this genus

Word Origin for citrus

C19: from Latin: citrus tree, sandarac tree; related to Greek kedros cedar

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 citrus



1825, from Modern Latin genus name, from Latin citrus "citron tree," name of an African tree with aromatic wood and lemon-like fruit, the first citrus fruit to become available in the West. The name, like the tree, is probably of Asiatic origin [OED]. But Klein traces it to Greek kedros "cedar," and writes that the change of dr into tr shows that the word came from Greek into Latin through the medium of the Etruscans. As a noun, "tree of the genus Citrus," from 1885.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for citrus


[ sĭtrəs ]

Any of various evergreen trees or shrubs bearing fruit with juicy flesh and a thick rind. Citrus trees are native to southern and southeast Asia but are grown in warm climates around the world. Many species have spines. The orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit are citrus trees.
The usually edible fruit of one of these trees or shrubs.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.