American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several chiefly Mediterranean plants of the genera Asphodeline and Asphodelus in the lily family, having linear leaves and elongate clusters of white, pink, or yellow flowers.
- n. Any of several other plants, such as the bog asphodel.
- n. In Greek poetry and mythology, the flowers of Hades and the dead, sacred to Persephone.
- n. In early English and French poetry, the daffodil.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A name of various species of Asphodelus, a genus of plants, natural order Liliaceæ, natives of southern Europe. The yellow asphodel or king's-spear, A. luteus, is the handsomest and best-known species, though others are sometimes cultivated for ornament. The asphodel of the earlier English and French poets is the daffodil, Narcissus Pseudo-narcissus. In Greek myth the asphodel was the peculiar plant of the dead, its pale blossoms covering the meadows of Hades. It received this attribution, perhaps, because in Greek lands it is a very common weed, plentiful in barren and desert places and about tombs.
- n. botany Flowering plants of the Asphodelaceae family, especially Asphodelus ramosus and Asphodelus albus; the flowers of these plants.
- n. mythology The flower said to carpet Hades, and a favorite food of the dead.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A general name for a plant of the genus Asphodelus. The asphodels are hardy perennial plants, several species of which are cultivated for the beauty of their flowers.
- n. any of various chiefly Mediterranean plants of the genera Asphodeline and Asphodelus having linear leaves and racemes of white or pink or yellow flowers
- From Ancient Greek ἀσφόδελος (asphodelos). (Wiktionary)
- Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Two green hairstreak butterflies, gracefully viridescent, dance past on a soft wind that sifts through reeds, sets waving the tall golden flower stems of bog asphodel, and silky white plumes of cottongrass that has colonised the old peat-diggings.”
“How do we appraise an illuminated manuscript from a 15th-century book of hours, the translucent skin of a lady's portrait from 1610 on a three-inch oval of vellum, the stems of an asphodel curling across the page in a botanical illustration from 1747 that dimly presages the all-over aesthetic of action painting?”
“The margins of the loch were a riot of colour – the bright yellow of the bog asphodel contrasting with the red, greens and yellows of the sphagnum mosses.”
“This harks back to my aptly named post Death and daffodils where I explored a possible native etymology of ἀσφοδελός 'the netherworld asphodel meadow' effectively meaning 'the meadow (ἕλος) not (ἀ-) reduced to ashes (σποδός) or 'unashen meadow'.”
“After a while the mist cleared and the group came upon fields of asphodel.”
“Where I come from almost nothing grows—except asphodel.”
“So what if asphodel was the only flower that bloomed here?”
“As soon as she arrived, the dogs began to frolic together in the park nearby, traipsing through fields of asphodel, irises, and ferns.”
“And think not that the felicity of the heroes and demigods in the Elysian fields consisteth either in their asphodel, ambrosia, or nectar, as our old women here used to say; but in this, according to my judgment, that they wipe their tails with the neck of a goose, holding her head betwixt their legs, and such is the opinion of Master John of Scotland, alias Scotus.”
“Shade, Demeter mother of asphodel weeping dew, her daughter stored in salty caverns under white snow, black hail, grey winter rain or Polar ice, immemor”
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Interesting words in nature and natural science (in any language!).
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