cactus

noun
cac·​tus | \ ˈkak-təs How to pronounce cactus (audio) \
plural cacti\ ˈkak-​ˌtī How to pronounce cacti (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

The New York subways are plastered with images of sad, drooping cactuses — an image meant to suggest erectile dysfunction in ads for the men’s wellness company him. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "Sex Tech Company Dame Sues NYC Subways Over ‘Sexist’ Advertising Rules," 20 June 2019 Under them are a pencil cactus on a stand that turns an orange/red color; a red barberry; and a Weigela that has bright pink flowers, said Duckert. Joanne Kempinger Demski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Minutes from downtown, a garden wonderland — and you can see it in July," 20 June 2019 The three-ounce owls typically take up homes in cavities of a Saguaro cactus. Raquel Baier, azcentral, "4 pygmy-owls hatch at Phoenix Zoo as part of conservation program," 6 June 2019 The set contains three makeup brushes, each shaped like a different (and thankfully spike-free) cactus. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "I Need These Cactus-Shaped Makeup Brushes From Tarte's Sister Brand Sugar Rush Immediately," 19 Apr. 2019 Thirty years ago, this 730-acre swath of Arizona land was virgin desert, the vast blue sky interrupted only by towering saguaro cactuses. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Scottsdale Grows ‘Up’," 11 Apr. 2019 The couple that Instas together, stays together, right? Swift and Alwyn both posted photos of themselves next to the same cactus while apparently on vacation together. Glamour, "Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn's Relationship: A Complete Timeline," 20 Mar. 2019 Today the cactuses have been replaced by construction cranes in what is now a bustling area known as Kierland. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Scottsdale Grows ‘Up’," 11 Apr. 2019 One of them has an Asian theme, with extraordinary bonsai, while another is planted with the cactuses and spiny plants of the American Southwestern desert. New York Times, "Francine Prose on Montreal in the Spring: The Time of the Butterflies," 11 June 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for cactus

Last Updated

25 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for cactus

The first known use of cactus was in 1738

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More Definitions for cactus

cactus

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cactus

: a plant that lives in the desert and that has many sharp points (called spines)

cactus

noun
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on cactus

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cactus

Spanish Central: Translation of cactus

Nglish: Translation of cactus for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cactus

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