physa·​lis | \ ˈfīsələ̇s, ˈfis-; fīˈsalə̇s \

Definition of physalis

1 capitalized : a large genus of low-growing chiefly American annual or perennial herbs (family Solanaceae) that have an angled campanulate corolla and an inflated and sometimes brightly colored calyx enclosing a fruit which is a greenish or yellow 2-celled globular berry and that include several plants which are cultivated for their edible fruit or their showy calyxes — see cape gooseberry , chinese lantern plant , ground-cherry, strawberry tomato
2 plural -es : any plant of the genus Physalis

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

History and Etymology for physalis

New Latin, modification of Late Greek physallis Chinese lantern plant, from Greek, bladder, bubble

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about physalis

Statistics for physalis

Cite this Entry

“Physalis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2020.

Comments on physalis

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!