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[na-stur-shuh m, nuh-] /næˈstɜr ʃəm, nə-/
any plant of the genus Tropaeolum, cultivated for its showy, usually orange, red, or yellow flowers or for its fruit, which is pickled and used like capers.
1560-70; < Latin nāsturtium, nāsturcium a kind of cress, taken to mean, perhaps by folk etymology, something that wrings the nose (referring to its acrid smell). See nose, tort, -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for nasturtium
  • My first impression was of spices, a bold, peppery flavor reminiscent of the nasturtium flower.
  • Cherries hid under a red mullet in a peppery nasturtium sauce.
  • Maybe stick to nasturtium and wild sage in your foraging expeditions.
  • Fresh nasturtium blossoms provide a needed zing of color.
  • Last summer my nasturtium leaves were often covered with aphids.
  • Other flowers usually have a relatively pale taste, with the peppery nasturtium a powerful exception.
British Dictionary definitions for nasturtium


any of various plants of the genus Tropaeolum, esp T. major, having round leaves and yellow, red, or orange trumpet-shaped spurred flowers: family Tropaeolaceae
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: kind of cress, from nāsus nose + tortus twisted, from torquēre to twist, distort; so called because the pungent smell causes one to wrinkle one's nose
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for nasturtium

mid-12c., "plant of the mustard family, like watercress," from Latin nasturtium "cress;" the popular etymology explanation of the name (Pliny) is that it is from Latin *nasitortium, literally "nose-twist," from nasus "nose" (see nose (n.)) + past participle of torquere "to twist" (see thwart); the plant so called for its pungent odor. Modern application to a South American trailing plant with orange flowers first recorded 1704.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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