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[uh-lis-uh m] /əˈlɪs əm/
any of various plants belonging to the genus Alyssum, of the mustard family, having clusters of small yellow or white flowers.
any of several related plants of the genus Aurinia, as A. saxatilis, a widely cultivated species with yellow flowers.
1545-55; < Neo-Latin; Latin alysson < Greek, neuter of ályssos curing (canine) madness, equivalent to a- a-6 + lýss(a) madness + -os adj. suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for alyssum
  • The hoops are then underplanted with sweet alyssum, parsley, or violas.
  • Attract these beneficial insects with nectar and pollen sources such as dill, cosmos and sweet alyssum.
  • Those striking green and white leaves provided a fine complement to the marigolds, alyssum and coleus.
  • Once the aggressive chickweeds were removed, the sweet alyssum plants had plenty of room to grow.
British Dictionary definitions for alyssum


any widely cultivated herbaceous garden plant of the genus Alyssum, having clusters of small yellow or white flowers: family Brassicaceae (crucifers) See also sweet alyssum, alison
Word Origin
C16: from New Latin, from Greek alusson, from alussos (adj) curing rabies, referring to the ancient belief in the plant's healing properties
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for alyssum
genus name for plants of the mustard family, 1550s, from L. alysson, from Gk. alysson, which is perhaps the neut. of adj. alyssos "curing madness," from priv. prefix a- + lyssa "madness, rage, fury."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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