• synonyms


[skey-bee-uh s]
  1. covered with or consisting of scabs; scabby.
  2. pertaining to or of the nature of scabies.
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Origin of scabious1

First recorded in 1595–1605; scabi(es) + -ous


[skey-bee-uh s]
  1. Also called pincushion flower. any of various plants belonging to the genus Scabiosa, of the teasel family, having opposite leaves and often showy flower heads in a variety of colors.
  2. any of various similar or related plants.
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Origin of scabious2

1350–1400; Middle English scabiose < Medieval Latin scabiōsa (herba) scabies-curing (herb); see scabies, -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scabious

Historical Examples

  • The Scabious, or Devils bit, was regarded with great superstition.

    The Funny Side of Physic

    A. D. Crabtre

  • The scabious meant "sorrow and desolation," and the forget-me-not "Do not forget me."

    The Prussian Terror

    Alexandre Dumas

  • "There is nothing for it but to die," said the sheep's-scabious.

  • The grass was all but hidden under a blue blur of scabious, and the cobwebs in the hedges were elaborately studded with dew-drops.

    Lives of the Fur Folk

    M. D. Haviland

  • In some of the species of Scabious, the florets of the outer ring resemble those of the ray in flowers of the Composit.

British Dictionary definitions for scabious


  1. having or covered with scabs
  2. of, relating to, or resembling scabies
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin scabiōsus, from scabies


  1. any plant of the genus Scabiosa, esp S. atropurpurea, of the Mediterranean region, having blue, red, or whitish dome-shaped flower heads: family Dipsacaceae
  2. any of various similar plants of the related genus Knautia
  3. devil's bit scabious a similar and related Eurasian marsh plant, Succisa pratensis
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Word Origin

C14: from Medieval Latin scabiōsa herba the scabies plant, referring to its use in treating scabies
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

scabious in Medicine


(skābē-əs, skăbē-)
  1. Of or relating to scabies.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.