tu·​lip ˈtü-ləp How to pronounce tulip (audio)
: any of a genus (Tulipa) of Eurasian bulbous herbs of the lily family that have linear or broadly lanceolate leaves and are widely grown for their showy flowers
also : the flower or bulb of a tulip

Examples of tulip in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The resulting compositions play off each other chromatically and spatially: A Slinky mimics the curving neck of a stalk of wild garlic, while a fringed purple tulip’s peeling petals evoke the undone wrapper of a grape lollipop. Chloe Malle, Vogue, 8 Nov. 2023 This dainty tulip night light is such a unique decor item that will bring a little whimsy into the bedroom. Samantha Booth, Rolling Stone, 6 Nov. 2023 The gardener’s guide to tulips The gardener’s guide to daffodils A master gardener in Virginia shares his vegetable bounty Perspective How gardeners can combat climate change The battle against weeds never ends. Tovah Martin, Washington Post, 30 Oct. 2023 For centuries, tulips and pomegranates were reproduced in paintings, Iznik ceramics, and Suzani textiles, representing enduring love and abundance; here, the botanical profusion of Persian gardens was reprised in exceptional couture-level creations by contemporary designers. Tiziana Cardini, Vogue, 7 Nov. 2023 Most types of tulips do not perennialize or bloom well in subsequent seasons, so treat them as annuals and plant new bulbs every fall. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 7 Sep. 2023 And a small bouquet of flowers, maybe dahlias and tulips on the table. Dawn Davis, Bon Appétit, 4 Sep. 2023 This five-acre farm also grows dahlias, zinnias, and tulips and offers a variety of lavender products. Karen Ruffini, Travel + Leisure, 22 Aug. 2023 Some of the plants most vulnerable to deer are hosta, daylily, pansies, tulips, hydrangeas, hibiscus, and roses. Chris McKeown, The Enquirer, 19 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tulip.' 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 tulipa, from Turkish tülbent turban — more at turban

First Known Use

1578, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tulip was in 1578

Dictionary Entries Near tulip

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition


tu·​lip ˈt(y)ü-ləp How to pronounce tulip (audio)
: any of a genus of Eurasian herbs that grow from bulbs, have large lance-shaped leaves, are related to the lilies, and are widely grown for their showy cup-shaped flowers
also : the flower or bulb of a tulip

from scientific Latin tulipa "the tulip," from Turkish tülbent "tulip," literally "turban"

Word Origin
We often think of the tulip as a Dutch flower. The Dutch certainly do grow many tulips, but they first got the plant from Turkey. The Turkish word for the tulip was tülbent, meaning literally "turban." Perhaps it was the flower's shape that reminded the Turks of a turban. Or perhaps it was the bright colors and velvety petals. In any case, scientists picking a universal word for the flower chose the scientific Latin tulipa, taken from the Turkish word. The word came into English from the scientific Latin and was spelled tulip.

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