[gahr-dee-nyuh, -nee-uh]


any evergreen tree or shrub belonging to the genus Gardenia, of the madder family, native to the warmer parts of the Eastern Hemisphere, cultivated for its usually large, fragrant white flowers.
the flower of any of these plants.

Origin of gardenia

< New Latin (1760), after Alexander Garden (1730–91), American physician; see -ia Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for gardenia

Historical Examples of gardenia

  • The gardenia flowers now so much favored for wearing are expensive.

  • The fellow is to wear a white top hat, and a gardenia in his buttonhole.

  • Tearing the gardenia from her breast, she flung it on to his upturned face.

    Saint's Progress

    John Galsworthy

  • Creamy looking posies, kind of kin to a gardenia, seems to me!

    The Thing from the Lake

    Eleanor M. Ingram

  • He was like the anarchist with a gardenia in his buttonhole who figures in the higher melodrama.

    The Reef

    Edith Wharton

British Dictionary definitions for gardenia



any evergreen shrub or tree of the Old World tropical rubiaceous genus Gardenia, cultivated for their large fragrant waxlike typically white flowers
the flower of any of these shrubs

Word Origin for gardenia

C18: New Latin, named after Dr Alexander Garden (1730–91), American botanist
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 gardenia

1757, Modern Latin, named for Scottish-born American naturalist Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), Vice President of the Royal Society.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper