hy·​a·​cinth | \ ˈhī-ə-(ˌ)sin(t)th How to pronounce hyacinth (audio) , -sən(t)th\

Definition of hyacinth

1a : a precious stone of the ancients sometimes held to be the sapphire
b : a gem zircon or hessonite
2a : a plant of the ancients held to be a lily, iris, larkspur, or gladiolus
b : a bulbous perennial herb (Hyacinthus orientalis) of the lily family that is native to the Mediterranean region but is widely grown for its dense spikes of fragrant flowers — compare grape hyacinth, water hyacinth
3 : a light violet to moderate purple

Illustration of hyacinth

Illustration of hyacinth

hyacinth 2b

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Other Words from hyacinth

hyacinthine \ ˌhī-​ə-​ˈsin(t)-​thən How to pronounce hyacinthine (audio) \ adjective

Examples of hyacinth in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Plant lilies underneath less tasty bulbs such as daffodils and hyacinths. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "How to Grow Lily Flowers," 1 Aug. 2018 Inspired by his favorite spring flowers, creator Christopher Brosius designed this fragrance with the essences of hyacinth, daffodil, crocus, and tulip, and the absolutes of narcissus and jonquil. Evelyn Crowley, Vogue, "Why Fragrance Water Is the Perfume World’s New Obsession," 11 Aug. 2018 The London candle is reminiscent of the Columbia Road flower market, with notes of tropical heliotrope, lilac, juniper, and sweet-smelling hyacinth with a hint of spice, which feels like an homage to the city’s diverse culture. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "You Can Buy These Exclusive Diptyque Candles for 4 Days Only," 6 Apr. 2018 White daffodils pop against a bed of whiter hyacinths. Colleen Barry, chicagotribune.com, "Nature shows off during Dutch tulip season," 8 Mar. 2018 Then there's hyacinth, which is such a beautiful flower. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Tory Burch Talks Building a Brand, Wellness, and Her Tenth Perfume Just Like Heaven," 14 May 2018 Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses have broken through, along with the blossoms of magnolia trees and crabapple trees, once again creating a palate of color. Chuck Crow, cleveland.com, "Lake View Cemetery's Daffodil Hill finally in full splendor (photos)," 6 May 2018 Tulips, hyacinths, and pansies were hung in baskets or planted in flower boxes on the barn. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Earth Day, Spring Cleaning At Hay Burr Inn Equine Rescue," 2 May 2018 Tulips, hyacinths, and zinnias are once again available for purchase and placement in your home (in preparation for their near-immediate deaths). Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "Today Is the Perfect Day to Buy Peonies," 2 May 2018

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

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hyacinth

Latin hyacinthus, a precious stone, a flowering plant, from Greek hyakinthos

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Time Traveler for hyacinth

The first known use of hyacinth was in 1553

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More Definitions for hyacinth



English Language Learners Definition of hyacinth

: a type of plant that is grown in gardens and has flowers that smell sweet


hy·​a·​cinth | \ ˈhī-ə-sinth How to pronounce hyacinth (audio) \

Kids Definition of hyacinth

: a plant often grown for its stalks of fragrant flowers shaped like bells

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More from Merriam-Webster on hyacinth

Spanish Central: Translation of hyacinth

Nglish: Translation of hyacinth for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hyacinth

Comments on hyacinth

What made you want to look up hyacinth? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a strong desire or propensity

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