cro·​cus | \ ˈkrō-kəs How to pronounce crocus (audio) \
plural crocuses

Definition of crocus

1a plural also crocus or croci\ ˈkrō-​ˌkē How to pronounce croci (audio) , -​ˌkī , -​ˌsī \ : any of a genus (Crocus) of herbs of the iris family developing from corms and having solitary long-tubed flowers and slender linear leaves
2 : a dark red ferric oxide used for polishing metals

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Did You Know?

A low-growing plant with a corm, the crocus belongs to the iris family. There are about 75 species of crocus. They are native to the Alps, southern Europe, and the Mediterranean and are widely grown for their cuplike blooms in early spring or fall. The spring-flowering sorts have a floral tube so long that the ovary is below ground, sheltered from climatic changes. Saffron comes from a species of crocus that is native to western Asia. The alpine crocus is the chief ancestor of the common garden crocus.

Examples of crocus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Snow crocus species include Crocus tommasiniana, Crocus chrysanthus and Crocus sieberi. Beth Botts,, "The best spring-blooming bulbs to plant under trees this autumn range from daffodils to snowdrops," 23 Aug. 2020 Saffron is harvested in the hours just before sunrise, while the crocus petals remain closed; this makes the flowers easier to pick and helps protect their precious crimson-red stigmas. Susan Wright, New York Times, "An Intimate Look at Italy’s Saffron Harvest," 12 May 2020 Gardeners and flower lovers who haven’t already dressed their petunias, crocuses and gardenias in little fleece jackets and caps should know another frost advisory has been issued for tonight. Meg Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Another cold May night in Wisconsin, another frost advisory as folks scramble to protect their flowers," 11 May 2020 Daffodil, snowdrops, crocus and myrtle flowers bear witness to the former human residents of lands now belonging to the parks. cleveland, "Cleveland Metroparks remain open as signs of spring welcome visitors," 27 Mar. 2020 Keukenhof is the world’s largest bulb-flower garden, with over 800 varieties of tulips, hyacinths, crocuses, and daffodils, and over seven million individual bulbs that bloom every year, Lonely Planet reported. Andrea Romano, Travel + Leisure, "See the Most Colorful Tulip Fields in the Netherlands Without Leaving Your House This Year (Video)," 16 Apr. 2020 If your yard is lush with springtime flowers, such as crocuses, tulips, and azaleas, clip them and arrange them inside said vase with some water. Lindsey Vickers, USA TODAY, "28 reasons to still be excited that it's spring," 3 Apr. 2020 Today, crocus flowers are abundant and the saffron harvested from them is used for pasta dishes. Stacy Adimando, Saveur, "5 Unsung Pasta Classics Every Carb Lover Should Try," 9 Oct. 2017 The first snow is a time of renewal, just like the warm winds of spring when the blooming crocus and daffodils usher in a new season. Peter Marteka,, "A snowy climb to the top of Great Hill Mountain in East Hampton after the season’s first snowfall," 6 Dec. 2019

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

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

History and Etymology for crocus

Middle English, the saffron plant, from Latin, from Greek krokos, of Semitic origin; akin to Akkadian kurkānū saffron

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Time Traveler for crocus

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for crocus

Last Updated

2 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Crocus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for crocus


How to pronounce crocus (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of crocus

: a small purple, yellow, or white flower that blooms in the early spring


cro·​cus | \ ˈkrō-kəs How to pronounce crocus (audio) \

Kids Definition of crocus

: a small plant having grasslike leaves and colorful flowers that bloom in the spring


cro·​cus | \ ˈkrō-kəs How to pronounce crocus (audio) \
plural crocuses

Medical Definition of crocus

1 plural also crocus or croci\ -​ˌkē, -​ˌkī, -​ˌsī How to pronounce croci (audio) \ : any of a large genus (Crocus) of perennial herbs of the iris family (Iridaceae)

More from Merriam-Webster on crocus

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

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