• synonyms


[eyd-l-vahys, -wahys]
  1. a small composite plant, Leontopodium alpinum, having white woolly leaves and flowers, growing in the high altitudes of the Alps.
  2. a liqueur made in Italy, flavored with the extracts of alpine flowers.
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Origin of edelweiss

1860–65; < German, equivalent to edel noble + weiss white
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for edelweiss

Historical Examples

  • "See, we are above the rest of you; we are the Edelweiss," said these flowers.

    Harper's Young People, April 6, 1880


  • Everybody in the Alps wears a sprig of Edelweiss in his hat.

    A Tramp Abroad, Complete

    Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)

  • Subsequently he enclosed a bloom of edelweiss culled on the heights, as he said, in my honour.


    James Joyce

  • Hunting for it is like hunting for the edelweiss in Switzerland.

  • They are also often clothed all over in cottonwool, such as the Edelweiss.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

British Dictionary definitions for edelweiss


  1. a small alpine flowering plant, Leontopodium alpinum, having white woolly oblong leaves and a tuft of attractive floral leaves surrounding the flowers: family Asteraceae (composites)
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Word Origin

C19: German, literally: noble white
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 edelweiss


1862, from German Edelweiß, literally "noble white," from Old High German edili "noble" (see atheling) + German weiss "white" (see white).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper