Acanthus definition

ə-kănthəs
(architecture) A design patterned after the leaves of one of these plants, used especially on the capitals of Corinthian columns.
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Any of a genus (Acanthus) of thistlelike plants of the acanthus family with lobed, often spiny leaves and long spikes of white or colored flowers, found in the Mediterranean region.
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Designating a family (Acanthaceae, order Scrophulariales) of dicotyledonous plants, including bear's-breech.
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(botany) A member of the genus Acanthus of herbaceous prickly plants with toothed leaves, (family Acanthaceae, order Scrophulariales) found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India.[First attested in the mid 16th century.]
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(architecture) An ornament resembling the foliage or leaves of Acanthus spinosus used in the capitals of the Corinthian and composite orders.[First attested in the mid 18th century.]
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A taxonomic genus within the family Acanthaceae — prickly herbs that grow in the Mediterranean; the acanthuses.
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(zoology) Animal having such a spine.
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Any of various perennial herbs or small shrubs of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean and having pinnately lobed basal leaves with spiny margins and showy spikes of white or purplish flowers.
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(archit.) A motif or conventional representation of the leaf of this plant, used esp. on the capitals of Corinthian columns.
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Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
acanthus
Plural:
acanthi, acanthuses

Origin of acanthus

  • New Latin Acanthus genus name from Greek akanthos thorn plant from akantha thorn

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Latin acanthus, from Ancient Greek ἄκανθος (akanthos), from ἀκή (akē, “thorn”) + ἄνθος (anthos, “flower”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From Ancient Greek ἄκανθος (akanthos), from ἄκανθα (akantha, “thorn”), from ἀκή (akē, “point”).

    From Wiktionary

  • From New Latin, from Ancient Greek ἄκανθα (akantha, “thorn, spine”)

    From Wiktionary