[ 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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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

Other definitions 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. 2022


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?  

How to use orchid in a sentence

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