1 : of, relating to, or resembling the orchids
2 : showy, ostentatious
The actress attended the premiere wearing an orchidaceous creation by a renowned fashion designer.
"Where I am, in orchidaceous Hawaii, among squawking geese, the sun glittering on the sea.…" -Paul Theroux in answer to the question "Where would you most like to be right now?" in an interview in The Guardian (London), May 25, 2013
Did You Know?
In its sense first used by botanists in the 1830s, "orchidaceous" means "belonging to the family Orchidaceae"-that is, to the orchid family, a very large family of flowering plants. While the basic shape of an orchid is simple-three petals with, on many orchids, an enlarged middle petal-there is no such thing as a typical orchid. Orchids range in size from very tiny flowers on inch-high plants to flowers a foot across, and they grow in habitats from tropical rain forests to semideserts. But when people use "orchidaceous" as a synonym for "flashy" in phrases like "orchidaceous writing," "orchidaceous colors," and "orchidaceous ladies," it's the colorful, showy tropical species they have in mind-species which, as Jacob Breynius, a 17th-century German botanist, put it, "surely excite our greatest admiration."
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create another word that can mean "showy": fsuu. The answer is …