cac·​tus | \ ˈkak-təs How to pronounce cactus (audio) \
plural cacti\ ˈkak-​ˌtī How to pronounce cactus (audio) , -​(ˌ)tē \ or cactuses also cactus

Definition of cactus

: any of a family (Cactaceae, the cactus family) of plants that have succulent stems and branches with scales or spines instead of leaves and are found especially in dry areas (such as deserts)

Examples of cactus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Learn what to do if you get pricked by a cactus on the trail. Los Angeles Times, 12 May 2022 Looking more like a colorful undersea coral reef than a cactus, Euphorbia Lactea is a stunning variety that needs plenty of sunlight and minimal water. Lauren Smith Mcdonough, House Beautiful, 25 Apr. 2022 High points showcase vistas of the New River Mountains, Table Mesa and acres of scrubland where springtime color breaks in colorful cactus blooms, golden brittlebush, buckwheat and rare specimens of bladder sage. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 For example, hoodia is a cactus San communities use to suppress appetite during long hunts or famine. Brenna Henn, The Conversation, 19 Apr. 2022 My mom wrote of riding the light rail to a Diamondbacks baseball game in Phoenix, of planting a cactus garden, of looking forward to summer in the already hot days of spring in the desert. Laura Trujillo, USA TODAY, 19 Apr. 2022 Fabric inserts are made from nopal cactus from the deserts of Mexico, which need very little water. Laura Burstein, Robb Report, 14 Apr. 2022 The key ingredient is a cactus extract that powerfully hydrates, purifies, and balances all skin types, while combating signs of aging with firming and brightening antioxidants. The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Apr. 2022 Take in panoramic views, climb on massive rock formations, stroll through a cactus garden, marvel at an oasis, and find the perfect Joshua Tree for your photos—all at the Joshua Tree National Park. Noel Cody, Essence, 21 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of cactus

1738, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cactus

New Latin, genus name, from Latin, cardoon, from Greek kaktos

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Dictionary Entries Near cactus



cactus alkaloid

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Statistics for cactus

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cactus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cactus


cac·​tus | \ ˈkak-təs How to pronounce cactus (audio) \
plural cacti\ -​ˌtī , -​tē \ or cactuses

Kids Definition of cactus

: any of a large group of flowering plants of dry regions that have thick juicy stems and branches with scales or spines

More from Merriam-Webster on cactus

Nglish: Translation of cactus for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about cactus


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