• synonyms


[sfag-nuh m]
  1. any soft moss of the genus Sphagnum, occurring chiefly in bogs, used for potting and packing plants, for dressing wounds, etc.
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Origin of sphagnum

1745–55; < New Latin, alteration of Greek sphágnos a moss
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sphagnum

Historical Examples

  • The Sphagnum moss will be seen at the base of the upright plant.

    The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise

    M. E. Hard

  • As she said nothing, he looked down at the foot-print in the sphagnum.

    The Flaming Jewel

    Robert W. Chambers

  • They are round and soft and mossy as hillocks of sphagnum in a green marsh.

    Glimpses of Three Coasts

    Helen Hunt Jackson

  • The "Hill Peat" is made up of Sphagnum and other mosses and of ferns and heather.

    Notes on the Fenland

    T. McKenny Huges

  • Then comes the chance of that wonderful moss the peat-moss, or Sphagnum.

    The Romance of Plant Life

    G. F. Scott Elliot

British Dictionary definitions for sphagnum


  1. any moss of the genus Sphagnum, of temperate bogs, having leaves capable of holding much water: layers of these mosses decay to form peatAlso called: peat moss, bog moss
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Derived Formssphagnous, adjective

Word Origin

C18: from New Latin, from Greek sphagnos a variety of moss
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 sphagnum


genus of mosses, 1741, Modern Latin, from Latin sphagnos, a kind of lichen, from Greek sphagnos "a spiny shrub, a kind of moss," of unknown origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

sphagnum in Science


  1. See peat moss.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.