poin·​set·​tia pȯin-ˈse-tē-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
 nonstandard  pȯint-,
-ˈse-tə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
: any of several spurges (genus Euphorbia) with flower clusters subtended by showy involucral bracts
especially : a showy Mexican and Central American plant (E. pulcherrima) with tapering usually scarlet bracts that suggest petals and surround small yellow flowers

Illustration of poinsettia

Illustration of poinsettia

Examples of poinsettia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The altar is surrounded by candles, a baby Jesus statue, roses and poinsettias lit by thousands of tiny red, green and white lights, the colors of the Mexican flag. J. Emilio Flores, Los Angeles Times, 13 Dec. 2023 However, the designs—pine, pinecones, winter whites, and poinsettias—are sure to make a statement in your space. Quincy Bulin, Better Homes & Gardens, 30 Oct. 2023 In the mid 1960s, Edwin Frazee moved his ranunculus and gladiolus to the current location on land owned by the Ecke Family, where the Eckes had been growing their famed poinsettias. Linda McIntosh, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Feb. 2024 This means that the majority of the poinsettia plants sold in the U.S. are grown domestically. Chelsea Hylton, Los Angeles Times, 14 Dec. 2023 Once the flowers fade, cut them off, set the plant out in your flower garden and await the arrival of poinsettias, which will come on the scene about late November. Nancy Brachey, Charlotte Observer, 30 Jan. 2024 The plastic pots are also spared landfill disposal and repurposed to be used for next year’s poinsettias. Stephen Underwood, Hartford Courant, 13 Jan. 2024 And doesn’t everyone love a poinsettia at Christmas? Sarah Stillman, The New Yorker, 11 Dec. 2023 Adding plants related to winter holidays (like poinsettias or Christmas cacti) transforms a green space into a seasonal affair. Sophia Beams, Better Homes & Gardens, 17 Nov. 2023

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

Word History


New Latin, from Joel R. Poinsett †1851 American diplomat

First Known Use

1836, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of poinsettia was in 1836

Dictionary Entries Near poinsettia

Cite this Entry

“Poinsettia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/poinsettia. Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


poin·​set·​tia pȯin-ˈset-ē-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio) -ˈset-ə How to pronounce poinsettia (audio)
: a showy Mexican and Central American plant with large scarlet bracts that grow like petals about its small yellow flowers

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