Definition of gentian
1 : any of numerous herbs (family Gentianaceae, the gentian family, and especially genus Gentiana) with opposite smooth leaves and showy usually blue flowers
2 : the rhizome and roots of a yellow-flowered gentian (Gentiana lutea) of southern Europe that is used as a tonic, stomachic, and flavoring in vermouth
Recent Examples of gentian from the Web
It is well stocked with various pitcher plants, bog orchids, violets, gentians, sundews and flytraps.
One of these signatures is the Bitter Storm Over Ulm—a blend of Aveze Gentian (a liqueur made with wild yellow gentian foraged in France), lemon, macvin, and pear.
Their Amaro di Bilaro — a label that combines their two last names — uses a grape spirit base and 13 botanicals, including rosemary and spearmint from the couple’s backyard, as well as gentian, rhubarb root and myrrh.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gentian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of gentian
Middle English gencian, from Anglo-French genciane, from Latin gentiana
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
GENTIAN Defined for Kids
Definition of gentian for Students
: a plant with smooth leaves and usually blue flowers
Medical Definition of gentian
1: any of two genera (Gentiana and Dasystephana) of herbs belonging to a family (Gentianaceae, the gentian family) and having opposite smooth leaves and showy usually blue flowers
2: the rhizome and roots of a yellow-flowered gentian (Gentiana lutea) of southern Europe that is used as a tonic and stomachic—called also gentian root
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up gentian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).