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late 14c., from Latin crocus, from Greek krokos "saffron, crocus," probably of Semitic origin (cf. Arabic kurkum), ultimately from Sanskrit kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one. The autumnal crocus (Crocus sativa) was a common source of yellow dye in Roman times, and was perhaps grown in England, where the word existed as Old English croh, but this form of the word was forgotten by the time the plant was re-introduced in Western Europe by the Crusaders.