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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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 Amidst the towering saguaro and pronged organ pipe cacti of southern Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, a 30-foot-tall fence snakes through the vegetation, shadowed by a barren strip of land that’s been carved into the mountainsides. Lucy Sherriff, Popular Science, 6 Jan. 2021 Grab a drink under the twinkle-light wrapped saguaro or next to the glowing unicorn statue. Tirion Morris, The Arizona Republic, 11 Sep. 2020 Typically parked in the west Valley, the trailer offers drinks that include an iced churro macchiato, horchata cold brew and saguaro blossom tea. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, 12 Oct. 2020 As the saguaro is to Arizona, so is the Joshua tree to Southern California and parts of Nevada. Mark Olalde, USA TODAY, 6 Mar. 2019 That makes 71 total plate options in the state, including the standard plate with its saguaro and sunset scene, according to the Department of Transportation. Ryan Randazzo, The Arizona Republic, 11 Aug. 2020 Our eagle survey team captured this image of a bald eagle family nesting in the arms of a saguaro - a rare sight! Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Apr. 2020 The saguaro, known as ha:sañ in the O’odham language, is a key species for Indigenous peoples. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, 18 June 2020 Images created by Reyes feature Mexican artist Frida Kahlo in a clinical mask, a prickly pear cactus warning others not to get too close, and saguaro cacti practicing 6feet of social distancing. USA TODAY, 19 May 2020

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

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The first known use of saguaro was in 1856

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Cite this Entry

“Saguaro.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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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

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