glad·​i·​o·​lus | \ ˌgla-dē-ˈō-ləs How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) \
plural gladioli\ ˌgla-​dē-​ˈō-​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) , -​ˌlī \

Definition of gladiolus

1 or plural gladiolus also gladioluses : any of a genus (Gladiolus) of chiefly African perennial plants of the iris family with erect sword-shaped leaves and spikes of brilliantly colored irregular flowers arising from corms
2 : the large middle portion of the sternum

Illustration of gladiolus

Illustration of gladiolus

gladiolus 1

Examples of gladiolus in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Some types of summer flowering bulbs, such as gladiolus or ranunculus, cannot survive cold winters. Arricca Elin Sansone, House Beautiful, "How to Plant Bulbs in Your Garden," 9 July 2020 With saber-like leaves and colorful flowers, crocosmia (or its cousin gladiolus) will make a striking contrast to Orienpets. Andrea Beck, Better Homes & Gardens, "What Are Orienpet Lilies and Why You Need Them in You Garden," 23 June 2020 Aquarius Aquarius flowers are the orchid (representing refined uniqueness) and gladiolus (a symbol of remembrance and strong character). Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, "Check Your Floroscope—Here’s the Perfect Flower for Every Astrology Sign," 5 Mar. 2020 This is, in part, because the season is longer and gladioli have more time to grow outdoors without getting cut down on frosts. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "The light is coming back. It’s time to get spring bulbs out of storage," 27 Feb. 2020 This is damage from a common insect pest of gladioli called gladiolus thrips. Dan Gill,, "Gladiolus thrips: How to prevent and spot these pests on your gladioli," 26 May 2018 Bulb-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, bulbine, caladium, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, spiderwort, rain lily and walking iris. Tom Maccubbin,, "July in the garden," 30 June 2018 Medium-height plants may include calendulas, peonies, gladiolus, lilies, standing cypress, echinacea, daisies, gaillardia, Swiss chard, zinnias or any annual or perennial that loves full sun exposure. Margaret Lauterbach, idahostatesman, "Cottage gardens can include edibles as well as ornamentals | Idaho Statesman," 21 Mar. 2018 Plant summer bulbs, including gladiolus, tuberous begonias and callas. Debbie Arrington, sacbee, "What to plant now? March offers wide range of gardening opportunities | The Sacramento Bee," 2 Mar. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for gladiolus

New Latin, from Latin, gladiolus, from diminutive of gladius

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Time Traveler for gladiolus

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The first known use of gladiolus was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Gladiolus.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of gladiolus

: a plant with long, stiff leaves and brightly colored flowers


glad·​i·​o·​lus | \ ˌgla-dē-ˈō-ləs How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) \
plural gladioli\ -​lē , -​ˌlī \ or gladiolus also gladioluses

Kids Definition of gladiolus

: a plant with long stiff pointed leaves and stalks of brightly colored flowers


glad·​i·​o·​lus | \ ˌglad-ē-ˈō-ləs How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) \
plural gladioli\ -​(ˌ)lē How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) , -​ˌlī How to pronounce gladiolus (audio) \

Medical Definition of gladiolus

: the large middle portion of the sternum lying between the upper manubrium and the lower xiphoid process

called also mesosternum

More from Merriam-Webster on gladiolus

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

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