- any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, of temperate and tropical regions, having usually showy flowers.Compare orchid family.
- the flower of any of these plants.
- a bluish to reddish purple.
Origin of orchid
- variant of orchido- before a vowel: orchidology.
Examples from the Web for orchid
Daintily swinging, like clustered pearls, were the petals of the orchid.The Trail of '98
Robert W. Service
Who shall claim to know his orchid who knows not its insect sponsor?
How are we to know that this blossom which we plucked is an orchid?
Angræcum, orchid of Madagascar, with nectary eleven inches long, 219.
He would also carry out his dream by making the orchid a gift to Lady Coke.Chatterbox, 1906
- any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, often having flowers of unusual shapes and beautiful colours, specialized for pollination by certain insectsSee bee orchid, burnt-tip orchid, fly orchid, frog orchid, lady orchid, lizard orchid, man orchid, monkey orchid, purple-fringed orchid, pyramidal orchid, scented orchid, spider orchid, spotted orchid
Word Origin and History for orchid
1845, introduced by John Lindley in "School Botanty," from Modern Latin Orchideæ (Linnaeus), the plant's family name, from Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) "orchid," literally "testicle," from PIE *orghi-, the standard root for "testicle" (cf. Avestan erezi "testicles," Armenian orjik, Middle Irish uirgge, Irish uirge "testicle," Lithuanian erzilas "stallion"). The plant so called because of the shape of its root. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c.1300; see ballocks). Marred by extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem.