hy·​dran·​gea hī-ˈdrān-jə How to pronounce hydrangea (audio)
: any of a genus (Hydrangea) of mostly shrubs having opposite leaves and showy clusters of usually sterile white, pink, or bluish flowers that is either placed in the saxifrage family or the hydrangea family (Hydrangeaceae)

Examples of hydrangea in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Amanda Shulkin of Muse and Co. helped with day-of coordination, while Pomona Florals sourced their garden roses, sweet peas, and hydrangeas. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 2 Feb. 2024 Her selections were weighed heavily toward plants that would have been popular when the mansion was built – irises, peonies, camellias, hydrangeas, crape myrtle trees. Emily Hedrick, Charlotte Observer, 1 Feb. 2024 The reception was held in the ballroom of the hotel, which was hung with crystal candelabras; decked out in crisp white, black, champagne and gold hues; and dressed with hundreds of roses, orchids, tulips, lisianthus and hydrangeas. Hannah Chubb, Peoplemag, 12 Jan. 2024 Eclipse hydrangea from Bailey Nurseries is a new variety that has the classic mophead flower shape but ups the ante with dark foliage that makes a striking contrast to its cherry pink blooms. Leanne Potts, Better Homes & Gardens, 10 Jan. 2024 Here, blue hydrangeas echo the door's hue, and pink dahlias offer a bit of bright contrast to draw the eye. Sheryl Geerts, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 Jan. 2024 My dress even matched the delicate petals of the hydrangeas sitting underneath the palatial chandelier and soaring ceilings. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, 15 July 2023 Once everyone was acquainted, the wedding party spent the next day preparing for the ceremony at St. George’s Episcopal Church, which was filled with white and green hydrangea and several varieties of roses and spray roses. Kimberlee Speakman, Peoplemag, 14 Jan. 2024 For my birthday, the scent is hydrangea, peony, and jasmine. Nena Farrell, WIRED, 14 Dec. 2023 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, genus name, from Greek hydr- hydr- + New Latin -angēa, feminine derivative from Greek angeîon "vessel, container" — more at angio-

Note: The genus name dates from linnaeus's Species plantarum, vol. 1 (1753), p. 397. Linnaeus took the name from Jan Frederik Gronovius and John Clayton's Flora Virginica, pars prima (Leiden, 1739), p. 50. Since the 19th century the name Hydrangea, taken to mean "water vessel," is said to refer to the "cup-like form of the seed-capsule" (hence Oxford English Dictionary, first edition, 1899). However, Gronovius, presumably the immediate author of the text, gives no indication of the name's significance. He describes the fruit of Hydrangea arborescens as "a small two-chambered vessel filled with tiny seeds, crowned with two small threads or little horns bent backward" ("… vasculo parvo bicapsulari seminibus minutissimis repleto, duobus parvis filamentis seu corniculis recurvis cornato"). This accords well with pictures of the plant's small seed capsules, though it takes some imagination to see an individual capsule as a water vessel.

First Known Use

circa 1753, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of hydrangea was circa 1753

Dictionary Entries Near hydrangea

Cite this Entry

“Hydrangea.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hydrangea. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


hy·​dran·​gea hī-ˈdrān-jə How to pronounce hydrangea (audio)
: any of a genus of shrubby plants with showy clusters of usually sterile white, pink, or bluish flowers

Medical Definition


hy·​dran·​gea hī-ˈdrān-jə How to pronounce hydrangea (audio)
capitalized : a large genus of widely distributed shrubs and one woody vine (family Saxifragaceae) with opposite leaves and showy clusters of usually sterile white, pink, or bluish flowers
: any plant of the genus Hydrangea
: the dried rhizome and roots of the wild plant of the genus Hydrangea (H. arborescens) formerly used in pharmacy as a diuretic

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