glad·​i·​o·​lus | \ˌgla-dē-ˈō-ləs \
plural gladioli\ ˌgla-​dē-​ˈō-​(ˌ)lē , -​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

Bulb-type plants: Achimenes, African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, blackberry lily, bulbine, caladiums, canna, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, eucharis lily, gladiolus, gloriosa lily, peacock ginger, society garlic, rain lily and walking iris. Tom Maccubbin,, "June in the garden," 26 May 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 Plant gladiolus corms through March: Plant groups of corms every two weeks during the planting season to extend the display of flowers., "This week's gardening tips: change the color of hydrangeas and control thrips," 17 Feb. 2018 Bulbs: African lily, agapanthus, amaryllis, anemone, bulbine, calla, crinum, day lily, gingers, gladiolus, pineapple lily, rain lily, society garlic, spider lilies, walking iris, watsonia. Tom Maccubbin,, "October gardening calendar," 30 Sep. 2017 To achieve this look, florists use flowers like bells of Ireland, hydrangeas, green gladiolus, as well as ferns, decorative leaves, and even moss. Lindsay Tigar, Vogue, "New Wedding Bouquet Trends to Try This Fall," 15 Sep. 2017 Bulbs: African iris, agapanthus, amaryllis, blackberry lily, bulbine, calla lily, crinum, crocosmia, day lily, gladiolus, kaffir lily, narcissus, society garlic, spider lily, rain lilies and walking iris. Tom Maccubbin,, "September in the garden," 26 Aug. 2017 Claudia Vasquez tucked stems of gladiolus into a rusting can of Peruvian soda, her grandmother's favorite. Elizabeth Roberts,, "Cemetery plans take shape for defunct golf course," 7 Aug. 2017

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

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

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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 \
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 \
plural gladioli\ -​(ˌ)lē , -​ˌlī \

Medical Definition of gladiolus 

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

called also mesosternum

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