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[jen-shuh n] /ˈdʒɛn ʃən/
any of several plants of the genera Gentiana, Gentianella, and Gentianopsis, having usually blue, or sometimes yellow, white, or red, flowers, as the fringed gentian of North America, or Gentiana lutea, of Europe.
Compare gentian family.
any of various plants resembling the gentian.
the root of G. lutea, or a preparation of it, used as a tonic.
Origin of gentian
1350-1400; Middle English gencian < Latin gentiāna; said to be named after Gentius, an Illyrian king Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for gentian


any gentianaceous plant of the genera Gentiana or Gentianella, having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
the bitter-tasting dried rhizome and roots of Gentiana lutea (European or yellow gentian), which can be used as a tonic
any of several similar plants, such as the horse gentian
Word Origin
C14: from Latin gentiāna; perhaps named after Gentius, a second-century bc Illyrian king, reputedly the first to use it medicinally
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 gentian

late 14c., genciane, from Old French genciane and directly from Latin gentiana, said by Pliny to be named for Gentius, king of ancient Illyria who discovered its properties. This likely is a folk-etymology, but the word may be Illyrian nonetheless, because the suffix -an frequently occurs in Illyrian words.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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