or·​chid | \ˈȯr-kəd \

Definition of orchid 

1 : any of a large family (Orchidaceae, the orchid family) of perennial epiphytic or terrestrial monocotyledonous plants that usually have showy 3-petaled flowers with the middle petal enlarged into a lip and differing from the others in shape and color

2 : a light purple

Illustration of orchid

Illustration of orchid

orchid 1

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Other Words from orchid

orchidlike \ ˈȯr-​kəd-​ˌlīk \ adjective

Examples of orchid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Frozen Vases Stick to arrangements of tropical flowers like orchids and succulents, which won’t droop in the hot sun, says florist Caroline Bailly of L’Atelier Rouge. Lauren Levy, The Cut, "The Everything Guide to Staying Cool at a Summer Wedding," 12 Apr. 2018 While much of this seed-spreading is probably incidental, a few agricultural mainstays rely heavily on wasps—including figs and orchids. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Five Real Life Wasp Superpowers Not in Ant-Man and the Wasp," 22 Mar. 2018 Henry de Greffulhe treated her abysmally, openly carrying on serial affairs with dozens of women all over Paris, his footman ordered to present them with bouquets of orchids every day. Moira Hodgson, WSJ, "‘Proust’s Duchess’ Review: The Guermantes Trio," 5 July 2018 Some trails lead to bogs with orchids and insect-eating plants; some lead to salmon pools or old-growth forests. BostonGlobe.com, "Four reasons to relocate to Cape Breton — if only for a few days (five, if you play golf)," 23 May 2018 Iguana-proof plants: Iguanas are herbivores and love to munch on bougainvillea, hibiscus, orchids, mangoes and bananas, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension. Doreen Christensen, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Expert tips on how to control iguanas," 21 June 2018 The orchids were crisp and white, the servers were dangling baskets of ciabatta bread, and the owner, Menbere Aklilu, was blinking away tears. Rachel Swan, SFChronicle.com, "Patrons grieve end of popular Richmond restaurant: ‘A dagger to community’s heart’," 16 June 2018 Coby Persin’s video Coby Persin planted flowers, including these orchids, in potholes around New York City after getting a flat tire from one of the city's many holes. Valerie Bauerlein, WSJ, "Pothole Vigilantes Fill the Streets, Plugging Gaps Left by City Workers," 30 May 2018 Each spring, the orchid, whose bulbous crimson body looks like an insect, releases a pheromone that tricks solitary male bees into thinking the plant is a mating partner — a key step for pollination. Author: Livia Albeck Ripka, Brad Plumer, Anchorage Daily News, "5 plants and animals utterly confused by climate change," 10 Apr. 2018

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

1845, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for orchid

borrowed from New Latin orchid-, the base of the taxa names Orchideae and Orchidaceae — more at orchidaceous

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Statistics for orchid

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orchid

The first known use of orchid was in 1845

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More Definitions for orchid



English Language Learners Definition of orchid

: a plant with flowers that are brightly colored and that have unusual shapes

: a light purple color


or·​chid | \ˈȯr-kəd \

Kids Definition of orchid

: a plant with usually showy flowers with three petals of which the middle petal is enlarged and differs from the others in shape and color

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