• synonyms


  1. any plant of the genus Saxifraga, certain species of which grow wild in the clefts of rocks, other species of which are cultivated for their flowers.
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Origin of saxifrage

1400–50; late Middle English < Latin saxifraga (herba) stone-breaking (herb), equivalent to saxi-, combining form of saxum stone + -fraga, feminine of -fragus breaking; see fragile
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for saxifrage

Historical Examples

  • Is there a legend in connexion with this name; and in what county is this saxifrage so called?

    Notes and Queries, Number 175, March 5, 1853


  • You won't feel at all lonely if you have the companionship of the saxifrage.

    Katharine Frensham

    Beatrice Harraden

  • She was content, too, and had forgotten about the saxifrage.

    Katharine Frensham

    Beatrice Harraden

  • The saxifrage and bloodroot might, of course, have been seen a week earlier.

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • They include a saxifrage, a mallow, a valerian, and several Composit.

British Dictionary definitions for saxifrage


  1. any saxifragaceous plant of the genus Saxifraga, characterized by smallish white, yellow, purple, or pink flowers
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Word Origin

C15: from Late Latin saxifraga, literally: rock-breaker (probably alluding to its ability to dissolve kidney stones), from Latin saxum rock + frangere to break
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 saxifrage


type of plant typically found in cold regions, late 14c., from Old French saxifrage (13c.), from Late Latin saxifraga, name of a kind of herb, from Latin saxifraga herba, literally "a rock-breaking herb," from saxifragus "stonebreaking," from saxum "stone, rock" + frag-, root of frangere "to break" (see fraction). Pliny says the plant was so called because it was given to dissolve gallstones, but a more likely explanation is that it was so called because it grows in crevices in rocks. (Latin used different words for "stone" and "gallstone" -- saxum and calculus). Related: Saxifragaceous.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper