Definition of acanthus
1 : any of a genus (Acanthus of the family Acanthaceae, the acanthus family) of prickly perennial herbs chiefly of the Mediterranean region
2 : an ornamentation (as in a Corinthian capital) representing or suggesting the leaves of the acanthus
Origin and Etymology of acanthus
borrowed from Latin, borrowed from Greek ákanthos, a plant of the genus Acanthus (as A. mollis or A. spinosus), masculine derivative of ákanthă “thorn, prickle, thorny plant, spine (of a fish), backbone,” probably of pre-Greek substratal origin
First Known Use: 1551
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