alys·​sum | \ ə-ˈli-səm How to pronounce alyssum (audio) \

Definition of alyssum

1 : any of a genus (Alyssum) of Eurasian herbs of the mustard family with small usually yellow racemose flowers

called also madwort

Examples of alyssum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Planting and propagation Plant gladioli, hardy transplants of alyssum, phlox and marigolds, if weather and soil conditions permit. oregonlive, "Oregon gardeners, here’s your April to-do list," 7 Apr. 2021 Planting and propagation Plant insectary plants such as alyssum, phacelia, coriander, candytuft, sunflower, yarrow and dill to attract beneficial insects to the garden. oregonlive, "Oregon gardeners, here’s your March guide to planting and planning," 1 Mar. 2021 Another group of the cool-weather annuals — pansies, alyssum, cyclamen, primula and ornamental kale — usually blooms through the cold spell. Calvin Finch, San Antonio Express-News, "So everything in your yard froze. Here's what to do, San Antonio," 26 Feb. 2021 Now that the warm-weather annuals such as zinnias have frozen back, replace them with cool-weather blooming plants such as stocks, dianthus, snapdragons, calendulas ornamental kale or alyssum. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: The best gardening books to give as Christmas gifts," 18 Dec. 2020 Other good selections would include alyssum, dianthus, pansies snapdragons and violas which are all cold resistant. Tom Maccubbin,, "Replace declining marigolds with these flowers," 28 Nov. 2020 The favorite cool-weather nectar sources seem to be dianthus, stock, alyssum, sweet pea and calendula. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: The flower annuals to plant now in San Antonio to get you through winter," 22 Oct. 2020 Cool-season flowers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the ground-hugging alyssum and lobelia to the towering hollyhocks and delphiniums. Dan Gill,, "Keep the color coming as the weather cools with this big variety of bedding plants," 14 Oct. 2020 Consider snapdragons, stocks, dianthus, ornamental kale, alyssum, sweet peas and calendula. Calvin Finch,, "You have mulch and compost questions; we have answers," 3 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'alyssum.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of alyssum

1548, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for alyssum

borrowed from New Latin, genus name, going back to Latin alysson "a kind of madder," borrowed from Greek álysson "any of several plants used to treat rabies," noun derivative from neuter of ályssos "curing madness," from a- a- entry 2 + -lyssos, adjective derivative of lýssa, Attic lýtta "rage, frenzy, rabies," perhaps derivative, with the abstract noun suffix *-ya (going back to Indo-European *-i̯h2) from the stem of lýkos "wolf" — more at wolf entry 1

Note: An alternative hypothesis sees a connection with Indo-European *luk-, zero grade of the base *leu̯k- "light, bright" (see light entry 1), assuming an association between rage or frenzy and unnaturally sparkling eyes. Support for this association is allegedly given by the phrase in Pindar leukaîs pithḗsanta phrasín "heeding his bright/flashing/violent (?) heart," along with Hesychius's gloss of leukaî phrénes as "raging" (mainómenai).

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Time Traveler for alyssum

Time Traveler

The first known use of alyssum was in 1548

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Statistics for alyssum

Last Updated

19 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Alyssum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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