acanthi

acanthus

[uh-kan-thuhs]
noun, plural acanthuses, acanthi [uh-kan-thahy] .
1.
any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy, white or purplish flowers. Compare acanthus family.
2.
an architectural ornament, as in the Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.

Origin:
1610–20; < Neo-Latin, Latin < Greek ákanthos bear's-foot

acanthine [uh-kan-thin, -thahyn] , adjective
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World English Dictionary
acanthus (əˈkænθəs)
 
n , pl -thuses, -thi
1.  See also bear's-breech any shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family Acanthaceae
2.  a carved ornament based on the leaves of the acanthus plant, esp as used on the capital of a Corinthian column
 
[C17: New Latin, from Greek akanthos, from akantha thorn, spine]

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Word Origin & History

acanthus
1610s, from L. acanthus, from Gk. akanthos, from ake "point, thorn" + anthos "flower" (see anther). So called for its large spiny leaves. A conventionalized form of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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