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orchid

[awr-kid] /ˈɔr kɪd/
noun
1.
any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, of temperate and tropical regions, having usually showy flowers.
Compare orchid family.
2.
the flower of any of these plants.
3.
a bluish to reddish purple.
Origin
1835-1845
1835-45; < New Latin Orchideae (later Orchidaceae) family name, equivalent to Latin orch(is) a plant (see orchis) + -ideae, irregular suffix (cf. -idae); see -id2
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for orchids
  • Much like all other orchids, no need for special care or attention.
  • In the right conditions these orchids are healthy and require little attention.
  • In his teens, he and some high school friends formed a band called the rhythm orchids.
  • Ferns, orchids and vines grow on the branches in the humid atmosphere beneath the canopy.
British Dictionary definitions for orchids

orchid

/ˈɔːkɪd/
noun
1.
any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, often having flowers of unusual shapes and beautiful colours, specialized for pollination by certain insects See bee orchid, burnt-tip orchid, fly orchid, frog orchid, lady orchid, lizard orchid, man orchid, monkey orchid, purple-fringed orchid, pyramidal orchid, scented orchid, spider orchid, spotted orchid
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin Orchideae; see orchis
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 orchids

orchid

n.

1845, introduced by John Lindley in "School Botanty," from Modern Latin Orchideæ (Linnaeus), the plant's family name, from Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) "orchid," literally "testicle," from PIE *orghi-, the standard root for "testicle" (cf. Avestan erezi "testicles," Armenian orjik, Middle Irish uirgge, Irish uirge "testicle," Lithuanian erzilas "stallion"). The plant so called because of the shape of its root. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c.1300; see ballocks). Marred by extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for orchids

orchid

any of nearly 1,000 genera and more than 22,000 species of attractively flowered plants distributed throughout the world, especially in wet tropics. Orchidaceae is a member of Asparagales, an order of monocotyledonous flowering plants that also includes the asparagus and iris families. The word orchid is derived from the Greek word (orchis) for testicle because of the shape of the root tubers in some species of the genus Orchis. These nonwoody perennial plants are generally terrestrial or epiphytic herbs (i.e., growing on other plants rather than rooted in soil). Those attached to other plants often are vinelike and have a spongy root covering called the velamen that absorbs water from the surrounding air. Most species manufacture their own food, but some live on dead organic material (saprophytic) or are helped to obtain nourishment by a fungus living in their roots

Learn more about orchid with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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