noun, plural gladiolus, gladioli [glad-ee-oh-lahy] , gladioluses for 1; gladioli for 2.
any plant of the genus Gladiolus, of the iris family, native especially to Africa, having erect, sword-shaped leaves and spikes of flowers in a variety of colors.
Anatomy. the middle and largest segment of the sternum. Compare manubrium ( def 2a ), xiphisternum.

1560–70; < Latin: small sword, sword lily, equivalent to gladi(us) sword + -olus -ole1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
gladiolus (ˌɡlædɪˈəʊləs)
n , pl -lus, -li, -luses
1.  sword lily, Also called: gladiola any iridaceous plant of the widely cultivated genus Gladiolus, having sword-shaped leaves and spikes of funnel-shaped brightly coloured flowers
2.  anatomy the large central part of the breastbone
[C16: from Latin: a small sword, sword lily, from gladius a sword]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

c.1000, from L. gladiolus "wild iris," lit. "small sword," dim. of gladius "sword," so called by Pliny in reference to the plant's sword-shaped leaves. The O.E. form of the word was gladdon.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

gladiolus glad·i·o·lus (glād'ē-ō'ləs)
n. pl. glad·i·o·lus·es or glad·i·o·li (-lī)
The large middle section of the sternum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
Dahlias and gladiolus accent the bed in late spring and summer.
It is sadly noted that the gladiolus bulbs were crushed during the rampage.
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