[ awr-kid ]
/ ˈɔr kɪd /
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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.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of orchid

1835–45; <New Latin Orchideae (later Orchidaceae) family name, equivalent to Latin orch(is) a plant (see orchis) + -ideae, irregular suffix (cf. -idae); see -id2

Definition for orchid (2 of 2)


variant of orchido- before a vowel: orchidology.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does orchid- mean?

Orchid- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning either “testicle” (testis) or “orchid.” In medicine, it refers to testicles. In botany, it refers to orchid flowers.

Orchid- comes from the Greek órchis, meaning “testicle.” How did the Greek word for testicle give rise to the name of a type of beautiful flower? Well, the roots of orchids were thought to resemble testicles. Learn more at our entry for orchis.

Orchid- is a variant of orchido-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use orchido- article.

The combining forms orchi-, as in orchiectomy, and orchio-, as in orchioplasty, are other variants of this combining form used to refer to testicles in medical terms.

Examples of orchid-

One example of a medical term that uses the combining form orchid- is orchiditis, also known as orchitis, meaning “inflammation of the testis.”

The first part of the word, orchid-, means “testicle.” The second part, -itis, is a suffix used to denote inflammation of an organ. Orchiditis literally translates to “inflammation of the testicles.”

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form orchid-?

What are some other forms that orchid- may be commonly confused with?

The word orchestra, despite beginning with the letters orch-, is not related to the combining form orchido-. Learn more about the Greek origins of this musical term at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

The combining form -ectomy is used in medical terms to mean “excision, removal.” What does the surgical procedure of an orchidectomy involve?  

Example sentences from the Web for orchid

British Dictionary definitions for orchid

/ (ˈɔːkɪd) /


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 for orchid

C19: from New Latin Orchideae; see orchis
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