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[rahy-zohm] /ˈraɪ zoʊm/
noun, Botany
a rootlike subterranean stem, commonly horizontal in position, that usually produces roots below and sends up shoots progressively from the upper surface.
1835-45; < New Latin rhizoma < Greek rhízōma root, stem, noun of result from rhizoûn to fix firmly, take root, derivative of rhíza root1
Related forms
[rahy-zom-uh-tuh s, -zoh-muh-] /raɪˈzɒm ə təs, -ˈzoʊ mə-/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for rhizomes
  • The rhizomes are very similar to ginger but have a raw mango taste.
  • The plant also has distinctive thick rhizomes that run horizontal to the stem.
  • They trample the developing plants and allow frost to penetrate the rhizomes.
  • Coltsfoot is a perennial herbaceous plant that spreads by seeds and rhizomes.
British Dictionary definitions for rhizomes


a thick horizontal underground stem of plants such as the mint and iris whose buds develop new roots and shoots Also called rootstock, rootstalk
Derived Forms
rhizomatous (raɪˈzɒmətəs; -ˈzəʊ-) adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin rhizoma, from Greek, from rhiza a root
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rhizomes



1832, from Modern Latin rhizoma, from Greek rhizoma "mass of tree roots," from rhizoun "cause to strike root, root into the ground, plant," from rhiza "root," probably from PIE *wrad- "branch, root" (cf. Latin radix "root," Old Norse rot "root," Old English wyrt "plant, herb;" see radish).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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rhizomes in Science

A plant stem that grows horizontally under or along the ground and often sends out roots and shoots. New plants develop from the shoots. Ginger, iris, and violets have rhizomes. Also called rootstock. Compare bulb, corm, runner, tuber.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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