• synonyms


[na-stur-shuh m, nuh-]
  1. any plant of the genus Tropaeolum, cultivated for its showy, usually orange, red, or yellow flowers or for its fruit, which is pickled and used like capers.
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Origin of nasturtium

First recorded in 1560–70, nasturtium is from the Latin word nāsturtium, nāsturcium a kind of cress, taken to mean, perhaps by folk etymology, something that wrings the nose (referring to its acrid smell). See nose, tort, -ium
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for nasturtium

Historical Examples of nasturtium

  • Among those in common use are clover, rose and the nasturtium.


    Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer

  • Cover the bread and butter with nasturtium flowers over night.


    Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer

  • Other flowers may be used in the same way; for instance, nasturtium.

  • Finish off with a nasturtium at the top, and also a row all round the outward edge.

  • Every wall is green with moss and gay with masses of convolvulus and nasturtium.


    Mortimer Menpes and Dorothy Menpes

British Dictionary definitions for nasturtium


  1. any of various plants of the genus Tropaeolum, esp T. major, having round leaves and yellow, red, or orange trumpet-shaped spurred flowers: family Tropaeolaceae
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Word Origin for nasturtium

C17: from Latin: kind of cress, from nāsus nose + tortus twisted, from torquēre to twist, distort; so called because the pungent smell causes one to wrinkle one's nose
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 nasturtium


mid-12c., "plant of the mustard family, like watercress," from Latin nasturtium "cress;" the popular etymology explanation of the name (Pliny) is that it is from Latin *nasitortium, literally "nose-twist," from nasus "nose" (see nose (n.)) + past participle of torquere "to twist" (see thwart); the plant so called for its pungent odor. Modern application to a South American trailing plant with orange flowers first recorded 1704.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper