or·​chis ˈȯr-kəs How to pronounce orchis (audio)
: orchid
especially : any of a genus (Orchis) of orchids with fleshy roots and a spurred lip

Examples of orchis in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In orchids, myth and folk medicine meet The word of the day: orchis. National Geographic, 5 Nov. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'orchis.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


borrowed from Latin (New Latin as a genus name), borrowed from Greek órchis "testicle, orchid" (the latter sense from the testicle-like shape of the paired tubers of some species), going back to Indo-European *h3erǵh-i-, whence also, with differing suffixation and ablaut, Armenian orjik‛ "testicles," Albanian herdhe, Middle Irish uirge, Avestan ərəzi, Hittite arki- "testicle," ark- "mount, copulate (with)" and, as a suffixed noun derivative, Lithuanian er̃žilas (dialectal ar̃žilas) "stallion"

First Known Use

1859, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of orchis was in 1859

Dictionary Entries Near orchis

Cite this Entry

“Orchis.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/orchis. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


or·​chis ˈȯr-kəs How to pronounce orchis (audio)
: orchid sense 1
especially : any of a genus of woodland plants having fleshy roots and a spur on the middle petal

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