[kroh-kuh s]

noun, plural cro·cus·es.

any of the small, bulbous plants of the genus Crocus, of the iris family, cultivated for their showy, solitary flowers, which are among the first to bloom in the spring.
the flower or bulb of the crocus.
a deep yellow; orangish yellow; saffron.
Also called crocus martis [mahr-tis] /ˈmɑr tɪs/. a polishing powder consisting of iron oxide.

Origin of crocus

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin < Greek krókos saffron, crocus < Semitic; compare Arabic kurkum saffron
Related formscro·cused, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for crocus

Contemporary Examples of crocus

  • Saffron is the dried stigmas (the female reproductive parts) of the saffron crocus ( Crocus sativus).

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Search of the $10,000 Spice

    Sarah Whitman-Salkin

    July 14, 2009

  • It takes about 70,000 crocus blossoms or 210,000 stigmas to yield just a pound of saffron.

    The Daily Beast logo
    In Search of the $10,000 Spice

    Sarah Whitman-Salkin

    July 14, 2009

Historical Examples of crocus

British Dictionary definitions for crocus


noun plural -cuses

any plant of the iridaceous genus Crocus, widely cultivated in gardens, having white, yellow, or purple flowersSee also autumn crocus
another name for jeweller's rouge


of a saffron yellow colour

Word Origin for crocus

C17: from New Latin, from Latin crocus, from Greek krokos saffron, of Semitic 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

Word Origin and History for crocus

late 14c., from Latin crocus, from Greek krokos "saffron, crocus," probably of Semitic origin (cf. Arabic kurkum), ultimately from Sanskrit kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one. The autumnal crocus (Crocus sativa) was a common source of yellow dye in Roman times, and was perhaps grown in England, where the word existed as Old English croh, but this form of the word was forgotten by the time the plant was re-introduced in Western Europe by the Crusaders.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper