flo·​ri·​le·​gium ˌflȯr-ə-ˈlē-j(ē-)əm How to pronounce florilegium (audio)
plural florilegia ˌflȯr-ə-ˈlē-j(ē-)ə How to pronounce florilegium (audio)
: a volume of writings : anthology

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Editors who compile florilegia (to use the plural form) can be thought of as gathering a bouquet of sweet literary blossoms. English speakers picked up florilegium from a New Latin word that derives from Latin florilegus, which can be translated as "culling flowers." In fact, florilegium initially applied to a collection of flowers, and later to books about flowers, but it wasn't long before the word began to be used for (as the Oxford English Dictionary puts it) "a collection of the flowers of literature." And florilegium isn't the only English collecting term with a floral heritage; its synonym anthology comes from the Greek word for "flower gathering."

Examples of florilegium in a Sentence

a florilegium of ancient alchemical writings
Recent Examples on the Web Grootbos, a hotel cum nature reserve 30 minutes to the south, is known for its family-friendly marine safaris and botanical tours (and a new florilegium). Jen Murphy, Town & Country, 7 Oct. 2022 Twenty-five of them get ink online this week, and about 20 on the print page — quite the florilegium. Pat Myers, Washington Post, 21 July 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'florilegium.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from New Latin flōrilegium, from Latin flōrilegus "culling flowers" (from flōri- flori- + -legus, adjective derivative of legere "to gather, pick") + -ium, suffix of deverbal compounds (formed after Latin spīcilegium "gathering of stray ears of grain"); loan-translation of Greek anthología anthology — more at legend

First Known Use

1647, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of florilegium was in 1647


Dictionary Entries Near florilegium

Cite this Entry

“Florilegium.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/florilegium. Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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