sa·​gua·​ro | \ sə-ˈwär-ə How to pronounce saguaro (audio) , -ˈgwär-, How to pronounce saguaro (audio) \
plural saguaros

Definition of saguaro

: a tall columnar usually sparsely-branched cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) of dry areas of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico that bears white flowers and a scaly reddish edible fruit and that may attain a height of up to 50 feet (16 meters)

called also giant cactus

Illustration of saguaro

Illustration of saguaro

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Did You Know?

Venture into the Arizonan desert on a May or June morning and you may see the saguaro in bloom. For many of our readers (such as those living in Arizona and southeastern California), this sight - and the word saguaro - won't be anything new. Or perhaps you know this emblem of all things Southwestern simply as the "giant cactus." The word saguaro originated in Ópata, a language spoken by peoples of the Sonoran Desert region of Mexico. It came into English by way of the Spanish spoken by the Mexican settlers of the American West. The very saguaros we see today may well have been around when the word was first noted, some 150 years ago - this amazing cactus can live for up to 200 years.

Examples of saguaro in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The trail is wide and plush with saguaros, cholla, ocotillo, creosote, yucca and granite boulders. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Scottsdale, Arizona, bucket list: Top 25 things to do," 9 Feb. 2015 Thirty years ago, this 730-acre swath of Arizona land was virgin desert, the vast blue sky interrupted only by towering saguaro cactuses. Candace Taylor, WSJ, "Scottsdale Grows ‘Up’," 11 Apr. 2019 The Mariners escaped the saguaros of Arizona and the mania of Ichiro’s retirement in Japan to christen their magenta-adorned, renamed T-Mobile Park in chilly Seattle on Monday. Tj Cotterill, The Seattle Times, "Mariners can’t escape Padres’ bats as Mike Leake gets hammered 8-0 in exhibition game," 25 Mar. 2019 Cactus cited in message Joe Snell, president and CEO of the Sun Corridor economic development group in Tucson, cited the saguaro in announcing the new fulfillment center. Russ Wiles, azcentral, "Amazon announces 1,500-job distribution center in Tucson," 16 May 2018 As Michael Greshko reports, U.S. and Mexican agencies helped protect the bat’s food source, like agaves and saguaro. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Once Rare Nectar-Feeding Bat Removed From U.S. Endangered Species List," 20 Apr. 2018 After April, the park’s collection of cacti, which include ocotillo, yucca, hedgehog, saguaro, and aloes, share their regal blooms. Sunset, "Where to See Wildflowers This Season," 22 Jan. 2018 The results won’t be as precise in other parts of the country where the algorithm has not been trained on local conditions—a redwood tree or saguaro cactus looks nothing like a willow oak. Bill Gourgey, WIRED, "How Artificial Intelligence Could Prevent Natural Disasters," 10 July 2018 Bobcats have been known to climb tall trees and even saguaros, a type of cactus that can grow up to 66 feet tall. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Bobcat sitting on top of tall cactus goes viral after being spotted by 2 bikers," 19 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'saguaro.' 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 saguaro

1856, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for saguaro

Mexican Spanish, probably from Ópata (Uto-Aztecan language of Sonora, Mexico)

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Last Updated

20 May 2019

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The first known use of saguaro was in 1856

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More Definitions for saguaro


sa·​gua·​ro | \ sə-ˈwär-ə How to pronounce saguaro (audio) , -ˈwär-ō, -ˈgwär-ō\
plural saguaros

Kids Definition of saguaro

: a giant cactus of the southwestern United States and Mexico

More from Merriam-Webster on saguaro

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with saguaro Encyclopedia article about saguaro

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