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cactus

[kak-tuh s] /ˈkæk təs/
noun, plural cacti
[kak-tahy] /ˈkæk taɪ/ (Show IPA),
cactuses, cactus.
1.
any of numerous succulent plants of the family Cactaceae, of warm, arid regions of the New World, having fleshy, leafless, usually spiny stems, and typically having solitary, showy flowers.
Origin of cactus
1600-1610
1600-10; < Latin < Greek káktos cardoon
Related forms
cactuslike, cactoid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for cacti
Historical Examples
  • Hand in hand, Orso and Jenny went forward; from the end of the street could be seen the immense plains, covered with cacti.

    Sielanka: An Idyll Henryk Sienkiewicz
  • Leaving the path to our left, we made our way among the cacti.

  • cacti and semi-tropical bushes mingled with brush on the rounded side hills.

    The Mystery Stewart Edward White and Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • There were cacti of all kinds around them, and as they ran, the spines caught their clothes.

    The Mexican Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
  • There are hedges and bushes—rather trees I should call them—of cacti growing in all directions.

    Forty Thousand Miles Over Land and Water Lady (Ethel Gwendoline [Moffatt]) Vincent
  • cacti are the most numerous of the species of vegetable life.

    The Mystic Mid-Region Arthur J. Burdick
  • It is the product of an insect called Coccus cacti, which lives on a species of cactus.

  • After about 75 years, the cacti are tall and develop their first branches.

    Deserts A. S. Walker
  • The cochineal insect of Mexico and Central America is solely nurtured by the native growth of cacti.

    Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou
  • This, notwithstanding the fact that they are the most highly evolved of all cacti.

    The Fantastic Clan John James Thornber
British Dictionary definitions for cacti

cactus

/ˈkæktəs/
noun (pl) -tuses, -ti (-taɪ)
1.
any spiny succulent plant of the family Cactaceae of the arid regions of America. Cactuses have swollen tough stems, leaves reduced to spines or scales, and often large brightly coloured flowers
2.
cactus dahlia, a double-flowered variety of dahlia
Derived Forms
cactaceous (kækˈteɪʃəs) adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: prickly plant, from Greek kaktos cardoon
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 cacti

cactus

n.

c.1600, from Latin cactus "cardoon," from Greek kaktos, name of a type of prickly plant of Sicily (the Spanish artichoke), perhaps of pre-Hellenic origin. Modern meaning is 18c., because Linnaeus gave the name to a group of plants he thought were related to this but are not.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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