orchidaceous

adjective or·chi·da·ceous \ ˌȯr-kə-ˈdā-shəs \

Definition of orchidaceous

1 : of, relating to, or resembling the orchids

orchidaceous was our Word of the Day on 09/15/2013. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of orchidaceous from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'orchidaceous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

In its sense first used by botanists in the 1830s, orchidaceous means "belonging to the family Orchidaceae"-that is, to the orchid family, a very large family of flowering plants. While the basic shape of an orchid is simple-three petals with, on many orchids, an enlarged middle petal-there is no such thing as a typical orchid. Orchids range in size from very tiny flowers on inch-high plants to flowers a foot across, and they grow in habitats from tropical rain forests to semideserts. But when people use orchidaceous as a synonym for "flashy" in phrases like "orchidaceous writing," "orchidaceous colors," and "orchidaceous ladies," it's the colorful, showy tropical species they have in mind-species which, as Jacob Breynius, a 17th-century German botanist, put it, "surely excite our greatest admiration."

Origin and Etymology of orchidaceous

New Latin Orchidaceae, family name, from Orchis


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