plural monsteras or monstera
: any of a genus (Monstera) of tropical American climbing plants of the arum family that have deeply incised or perforated leaves and an erect floral spadix enclosed in a white to yellow concave bract and that include some grown for their large ornamental leaves
monstera is a climbing or sprawling vine that supports itself with long tentacle-like aerial roots. Amy Bennett Williams
Monsteras do not flower or fruit indoors but may do so outdoors in protected locations … Redland (California) Daily Facts
see swiss cheese plant, swiss cheese vine
: the fruit of a monstera (especially Monstera deliciosa)
Lesser known fruits, such as the monstera (or Mexican breadfruit), baffle even enthusiastic diners. Jan Norris

Word History


borrowed from New Latin Monstera, genus name, perhaps arbitrarily re-formed from Latin monstrum "omen, portent, monster entry 1"

Note: The genus name Monstera was introduced by the French botanist Michel Adanson (1727-1806) in Famille des plantes, I partie (Paris, 1763), p. 470. Adanson's taxonomic coinages are notable for their derivational irregularity and occasional inscrutability.

First Known Use

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of monstera was in 1864

Dictionary Entries Near monstera

Cite this Entry

“Monstera.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

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