noun, plural acanthuses, acanthi [uh-kan-thahy] .
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.
an architectural ornament, as in the Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.

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

acanthine [uh-kan-thin, -thahyn] , adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To acanthus
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]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

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
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The cabriole legs, ending in bold claw and ball feet, are vigorously carved at the knee in an acanthus design.
Outside of the columns are floral swags and acanthus ornaments.
Window and door frame treatments use square corner blocks, into which are carved acanthus leaves.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature