cal·​a·​mus | \ ˈka-lə-məs How to pronounce calamus (audio) \
plural calami\ ˈka-​lə-​ˌmī How to pronounce calamus (audio) , -​ˌmē \

Definition of calamus

b : the aromatic peeled and dried rhizome of the sweet flag that is the source of a carcinogenic essential oil
2 : the hollow basal portion of a feather below the vane : quill

Examples of calamus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Though the calamus was visible in the 1860s and included in drawings of the fossil at the time, wear on the specimen caused the feature to fade from view. Ryan Carney, National Geographic, "The first known dinosaur feather inspired decades of dispute. Here's why.," 30 Sep. 2020

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

First Known Use of calamus

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for calamus

Latin, reed, reed pen, from Greek kalamos — more at haulm

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Time Traveler for calamus

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

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Cite this Entry

“Calamus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for calamus


cal·​a·​mus | \ ˈkal-ə-məs How to pronounce calamus (audio) \
plural calami\ -​ˌmī, -​ˌmē How to pronounce calamus (audio) \

Medical Definition of calamus

2 : the aromatic peeled and dried rhizome of the sweet flag that is the source of a carcinogenic essential oil

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