or·​chid | \ ˈȯr-kəd How to pronounce orchid (audio) \

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 How to pronounce orchid (audio) \ adjective

Examples of orchid in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Native to the mountainous regions of eastern Africa, Acidanthera goes by a wealth of common names, with peacock orchid as the most recognizable. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, "Cornwall Mystery Plants," 8 Mar. 2021 Studying the orchid presented challenges to the scientists. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "Extremely Rare Orchid Tricks Horny Beetles Into Carrying Its Pollen," 25 Mar. 2021 Notes include mandarin, ginger blossom, vanilla orchid, musk, praline, and amberwood. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Oscar de la Renta Just Launched a New Fragrance, Alibi," 15 Mar. 2021 Before the pandemic hit, the shop had emerged as a community hub thanks to a roster of events, including a book club and workshops on subjects ranging from crystal-sage bundles to orchid care. Jen Murphy, Travel + Leisure, "Experience the Slower Side of Maui on a Road Trip Through the Heart of the Island," 27 Feb. 2021 Per the statement, the orchid has no leaves or any other means by which to turn the sun’s energy into food. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Behold the World’s Ugliest Orchid, According to Botanists," 21 Dec. 2020 When Marylynn gets an orchid from Bachelor Matt James, Victoria seemingly decides that is the final straw. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "This Season’s Bachelor Villain Is White Woman Tears," 12 Jan. 2021 Cancellations include the Grande Day and Torchlight parades, family night, the coronation of the Winter Carnival royalty, the Klondike Kate contest and the orchid show at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Melissa Walker, Star Tribune, "What's new, gone virtual or gone from the St. Paul Winter Carnival," 25 Jan. 2021 The orchid, located in Madagascar, has no leaves, grows from a woolly tuberous stem, and spends most of its life underground, emerging only to flower or produce fruit. Amy Woodyatt, CNN, "This new orchid species is the 'ugliest' in the world," 17 Dec. 2020

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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Last Updated

11 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Orchid.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orchid. Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce orchid (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on orchid

Nglish: Translation of orchid for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of orchid for Arabic Speakers

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