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

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 Notes of apple blossom and white orchid enhance the fragrance with a hint of floralcy. Kelly Conaboy, The Cut, "The Perfect Candle for Washing-Machine-less Laundry Lovers," 29 June 2018 Vanilla begins as a long, thin pod on a tropical climbing orchid, the fruit of a flower that blooms for only one day. Carole Kotkin, miamiherald, "There's nothing vanilla about cooking with fragrant, homemade vanilla," 13 June 2018 Celebrate Mother's Day 2018 with spring flower favorites like hydrangeas, roses, orchids, daisies & more! Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Remember Your Mother. Save $10 on Flowers," 7 May 2018 More than 1,000 butterflies flitter among a natural-rock waterfall, palms, and even orchids. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Secret gardens: A global tour of hidden urban oases," 12 June 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

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for orchid

The first known use of orchid was in 1845

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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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Comments on orchid

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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