ar·​um | \ ˈa-rəm How to pronounce arum (audio) , ˈer-əm \

Definition of arum

: any of a genus (Arum of the family Araceae, the arum family) of Eurasian plants having usually arrow-shaped leaves and a showy spathe partially enclosing a spadix broadly : a plant of the arum family

Examples of arum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Blackberry, tree-of-heaven, invasive knotweeds, garlic mustard, lesser celandine, Italian arum and horsetail are some examples that are difficult to control. oregonlive, 3 June 2021 If the arum is located across a larger area, herbicides are an option but even in strong formulations will mostly just set it back rather than kill it, due to its thick waxy leaves and multitude of bulbs. oregonlive, 27 Mar. 2021 Ivy arum, Pothos 9 Octopus tree, Brassia actinophylla 10. Los Angeles Times, 28 Feb. 2020 On a precociously hot day in May, Avent takes me on a golf cart tour past fields of arums, lycoris, trilliums, crinums, epimediums, colocasias, baptisias and gingers — the botany begins to blur after a few hours under the beating Carolina sun. Adrian Higgins, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2019 Another big category to keep your pets from gnawing is aroids (aka arums), the group of plants including philodendrons, pothos, peace lily (Spathiphyllum), arrowhead plants (Syngonium), elephant ear (Caladium), Dieffenbachia and others. Kenneth Setzer, miamiherald, 14 June 2018 This arum thrives in partial shade or sun, so would be ideal with hostas in a partly-shaded bed. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, 26 Apr. 2017 Java is one of two corpse flowers, or titan arums, that have been on display in the garden's greenhouse since May 17 in a state of near bloom. Daniel I. Dorfman,, 31 May 2017 For the fourth time in less than two years, the Garden is awaiting the putrid bloom of the titan arum – two plants named Java and Sumatra, after islands in their native Indonesia, that are now in their bloom cycle and could soon open. Daniel I. Dorfman,, 23 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arum.' 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 arum

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for arum

borrowed from New Latin Arum (Linnaeus), a genus name, going back to Latin, "any of several plants of the genus Arum," borrowed from Greek áron "the plant Arum italicum or a related species," perhaps borrowed from Egyptian ʿr "bulrush, reed"

Note: The Egyptian source was hypothesized by Bertrand Hemmerdinger in "Noms communs grecs d'origine égyptienne," Glotta, Band 46, Heft 3/4 (1968), p. 244, citing Erman-Grapow, Wörterbuch der aegyptischen Sprache, Band 1, p. 208. Hemmerdinger takes up the issue again in "De la méconnaissance de quelques étymologies grecques," Glotta, Band 48, Heft 1/2 (1970), p. 54, where he posits Semitic or Egyptian sources for words of uncertain origin in Chantraine's etymological dictionary. He draws attention to the passage (19.33) in Pliny's Historia naturalis in which "aron" is said to be a name used in Egypt: "Est inter genera et quod in Aegypto aron vocant." If this plant is correctly identified as Colocasia antiquorum, however—the suggestion in Liddell and Scott's dictionary—it can scarcely have any connection with an Egyptian word meaning "reed" or "rush," as neither this plant nor Arum italicum has any resemblance to a reed.

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The first known use of arum was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

20 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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