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[poin-set-ee-uh, -set-uh] /pɔɪnˈsɛt i ə, -ˈsɛt ə/
a plant, Euphorbia (Poinsettia) pulcherrima, of the spurge family, native to Mexico and Central America, having variously lobed leaves and brilliant scarlet, pink, or white petallike bracts.
Origin of poinsettia
1830-40; < New Latin, named after J. R. Poinsett (1799-1851), American minister to Mexico, who discovered the plant there in 1828; see -ia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for poinsettia
  • But there's a little more anger every year, an emotion as pointed as a poinsettia but not as pretty.
  • In short, the art historian and the artist are about as similar as a cellphone and a poinsettia plant.
  • poinsettia poisoning occurs when someone touches the sap of the poinsettia plant or eats parts of the plant.
  • Eighty-nine poinsettia cultivars were evaluated for resistance to scab, and all varieties developed lesions and were unmarketable.
  • Bright-red hibiscus and wild poinsettia lend a sweet, almost jasmine scent.
  • Don't toss out your poinsettia plants with the holiday tree.
British Dictionary definitions for poinsettia


a euphorbiaceous shrub, Euphorbia (or Poinsettia) pulcherrima, of Mexico and Central America, widely cultivated for its showy scarlet bracts, which resemble petals
Word Origin
C19: New Latin, from the name of J. P. Poinsett (1799–1851), US Minister to Mexico, who introduced it to the US
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 poinsettia

from the genus name (1836), Modern Latin, in recognition of Joel R. Poinsett (1779-1851), U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who is said to have brought the plant to the attention of botanists.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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