[ nahr-sis-uhs ]

noun,plural nar·cis·sus, nar·cis·sus·es, nar·cis·si [nahr-sis-ee, -sis-ahy] /nɑrˈsɪs i, -ˈsɪs aɪ/ for 1, 2.
  1. any bulbous plant belonging to the genus Narcissus, of the amaryllis family, having showy yellow or white flowers with a cup-shaped corona.

  2. the flower of any of these plants.

  1. (initial capital letter)Classical Mythology. a youth who fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool and wasted away from unsatisfied desire, whereupon he was transformed into the flower.

Origin of narcissus

1540–50; <Latin <Greek nárkissos plant name, traditionally connected, by virtue of plant's narcotic effects, with nárkē numbness, torpor. See narcotic

Words Nearby narcissus Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use narcissus in a sentence

  • Not so, sire; I place narcissus far above you, for he knows how to defend himself, and you do not.

    Chicot the Jester | Alexandre Dumas, Pere
  • Zelphine and I have decided that we will never acknowledge this to be a Dionysus or anything less poetic than the narcissus.

    Italian Days and Ways | Anne Hollingsworth Wharton
  • The “Times” is the secluded pool into which England loves to gaze when it plays the rle of narcissus.

British Dictionary definitions for narcissus (1 of 2)


/ (nɑːˈsɪsəs) /

nounplural -cissuses or -cissi (-ˈsɪsaɪ, -ˈsɪsiː)
  1. any amaryllidaceous plant of the Eurasian genus Narcissus, esp N. poeticus, whose yellow, orange, or white flowers have a crown surrounded by spreading segments

Origin of narcissus

C16: via Latin from Greek nárkissos, perhaps from narkē numbness, because of narcotic properties attributed to species of the plant

British Dictionary definitions for Narcissus (2 of 2)


/ (nɑːˈsɪsəs) /

  1. Greek myth a beautiful youth who fell in love with his reflection in a pool and pined away, becoming the flower that bears his name

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

Cultural definitions for Narcissus


A beautiful youth in classical mythology who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. Because he was unable to tear himself away from the image, he wasted away and died.

Notes for Narcissus

“Narcissists” are people completely absorbed in themselves. (See narcissism.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.