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 But a good overview starts at the Waddell Trail with its cholla, saguaro and paloverde. Sonja Haller, azcentral, "Ultimate Arizona bucket list: 15 things to do in Surprise," 16 Feb. 2015 Nighttime is the right time, especially when there’s a saguaro cactus involved. Mark Feeney,, "Group shows at PRC and Griffin combine quality and quantity," 25 July 2019 The National Park Service is now injecting GPS trackers into Arizona’s famous saguaro cacti to catch people who carry off the ancient, slow-growing giants. Zoë Schlanger, Quartz, "A German tourist faces 10 years in US prison for smuggling endangered cactus seeds," 3 July 2019 Border Patrol contractors had previously disturbed human remains and damaged saguaro cacti, sacred to the Tohono O’odham. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Arizona tribe refuses Trump’s wall, but agrees to let Border Patrol build virtual barrier," 9 May 2019 Imagine a garden filled with every variety of flower in the world — delicate orchids, towering sunflowers, the waxy blossoms of the saguaro cactus and the corpse flower’s putrid eruptions. Quanta Magazine, "Proof Finds That All Change Is a Mix of Order and Randomness," 27 Mar. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for saguaro

Time Traveler

The first known use of saguaro was in 1856

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Last Updated

4 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Saguaro.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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

Comments on saguaro

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


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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