gentian

noun

gen·​tian ˈjen(t)-shən How to pronounce gentian (audio)
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

Examples of gentian in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tiny golden buttercups, scarlet gilia, purple sticky geraniums, and 3-foot green gentians, which live for decades but only bloom once, are all on display. Krista Simmons and J.d. Simkins, Sunset Magazine, 8 Mar. 2024 Female Alcon blues lay their eggs on gentians. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 Its distinguishing feature is Aperol, a bright orange bitter Italian liqueur of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona. Alex Erdekian, Condé Nast Traveler, 27 Apr. 2020 The French have bright yellow Suze and clear Salers, both gentian-based; the Germans have Jägermeister and Underberg. M. Carrie Allan, chicagotribune.com, 20 Nov. 2019 This year’s Olympic Games bouquet consists of eustoma, sunflower, gentian, narcolan and haran blossoms. Raisa Bruner, Time, 7 Feb. 2020

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English gencian, from Anglo-French genciane, from Latin gentiana

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of gentian was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near gentian

Cite this Entry

“Gentian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gentian. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

gentian

noun
gen·​tian ˈjen-chən How to pronounce gentian (audio)
: any of various herbs with smooth leaves and showy bell-shaped or funnel-shaped usually blue flowers

Medical Definition

gentian

noun
gen·​tian ˈjen-chən How to pronounce gentian (audio)
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

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