- any of a genus (Gladiolus) of plants of the iris family, with swordlike leaves, corms, and tall spikes of funnel-shaped flowers in various colors
- Anat. the central part of the sternum
Origin of gladiolusModern Latin ; from L, sword lily, small sword, diminutive of gladius: see gladiator
nounpl. glad·i·o·li or glad·i·o·lus·es
- also glad·i·o·la Botany Any of numerous plants of the genus Gladiolus, native chiefly to tropical and southern Africa and having sword-shaped leaves and showy, variously colored, irregular flowers arranged in one-sided spikes. Also called sword lily.
- Anatomy The large middle section of the sternum.
Origin of gladiolusMiddle English gladiol, from Latin gladiolus, wild iris, diminutive of gladius, sword; see gladiator.