nounpl. cactuses or cacti
Origin of cactusModern Latin ; from Classical Greek kaktos, kind of thistle, cardoon
nounpl. cac·ti or cac·tus·es
- Any of numerous succulent, spiny, usually leafless plants of the family Cactaceae, native chiefly to arid regions of the Americas, having variously colored, often showy flowers with numerous stamens and petals.
- Any of several similar plants.
Origin of cactusLatin, cardoon, from Greek kaktos.
(plural cacti or cactuses or cactus)
cactus properly refers to plants belonging to the family Cactaceae. With one exception, all are native to the New World (the Americas). The sole exception is Rhipsalis, a jungle epiphyte found in tropical Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka, as well as North and South America. Informally, cactus is used to refer to any stem succulent adapted to a dry climate, notably species from genus Euphorbia with forms reminiscent of Cactaceae. To be precise, these succulents are correctly described as "cactoid" or "cactiform" unless they are actual members of the Cactaceae.
- (Australia, slang) Non-functional, broken, exhausted.
From Latin cactus (“a spiny plant, possibly the cardoon”), from Ancient Greek κάκτος (kaktos)