• synonyms


noun, plural plum·ba·gos.
  1. graphite.
  2. a drawing made by an instrument with a lead point.
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Origin of plumbago

1595–1605; < Latin plumbāgō, translation of Greek molýbdaina lead ore, derivative of mólybdos lead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for plumbago


noun plural -gos
  1. any plumbaginaceous plant of the genus Plumbago, of warm regions, having clusters of blue, white, or red flowersSee also leadwort
  2. another name for graphite
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin: lead ore, leadwort, translation of Greek polubdaina lead ore, from polubdos lead
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 plumbago


"graphite," 1784, from Latin plumbago "a type of lead ore, black lead," from plumbum "lead" (see plumb (n.)); it renders Greek molybdaina, which was used of yellow lead oxide and also of a type of plant (leadwort). Attested in English in the yellow oxide sense from 1610s; as a type of plant from 1747. Related: Plumbaginous.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper