: a sheathing bract or pair of bracts partly enclosing an inflorescence and especially a spadix on the same axis
the spathe of the calla lily

Examples of spathe in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Peace lilies have long been popular houseplants for their glossy dark green leaves and pretty white flowers, called spathes. Kristin Tablang, House Beautiful, 18 Apr. 2023 The foliage appears in late fall, grows all winter and in late winter/early spring produces a whitish green spathe bloom. Janet Carson, Arkansas Online, 20 Dec. 2021 By Monday morning, the 6-foot-tall flower remained in full, glorious bloom with its blood-red petal spathe slowly darkening to a deep maroon, but its smell was more muted. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2021 After a monthlong growth cycle, the spathe, or the petal-like sheath around the flower’s spadix (a beige, fleshy spike), began folding back around 3 p.m. Sunday. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2021 Look for a maroon spathe (basically a leaf that covers a flower) and get close enough to get a whiff of its namesake. Chelsey Lewis, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2 Apr. 2020 The spathe on the corpse flower is striped green and white on the outside and a meaty red within. Ciscoe Morris, The Seattle Times, 31 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spathe.' 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 spatha, from Latin, broadsword — more at spade

First Known Use

1785, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spathe was in 1785

Dictionary Entries Near spathe

Cite this Entry

“Spathe.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spathe. Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

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