American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. See sweet flag.
- n. The aromatic underground stem of the sweet flag, yielding an oil used in perfumery.
- n. Any of various chiefly tropical Asian climbing palms of the genus Calamus, having strong flexible stems used as a source of rattan.
- n. See quill.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A reed; cane.
- n. A kind of fragrant plant mentioned in the Bible (Ex. xxx. 23, etc.), and supposed to be the sweet-flag, Acorus Calamus, or the fragrant lemon-grass of India, Andropogon Schœnanthus; the sweet-flag.
- n. [capitalized] A very large genus of slender, leafy, climbing palms, natives chiefly of eastern Asia and the adjacent islands. Their leaves are armed with strong reversed thorns, by means of which they often climb the loftiest trees. The sheathing leaves cover the entire stem, and when removed leave a slender-jointed polished cane, in some species reaching 200 feet in length. These are extensively used in bridge-making, for the ropes and cables of vessels, and, when split, for a great variety of purposes. They form the ratan-canes of commerce, used in large quantities for the caning of chairs, etc. One of the larger species, C. Scipionum, furnishes the Malacca canes used for walking-sticks. The fruits of C. Draco yield the red resin known in commerce as dragon's-blood.
- n. A tube, usually of gold or silver, through which it was customary in the ancient church to receive the wine in communicating. The adoption of the calamus doubtless arose from caution, lest any drop from the chalice should be spilled, or any other irreverence occur. It has fallen into disuse, except that it is still retained in the Roman Catholic Church in solemn papal celebrations, for the communion of the Pope. It is also known by the names canna, pugillaris, and fistula.
- n. In music, a flute or pipe made of reed.
- n. In ornithology, the hard, horny, hollow, and more or less transparent part of the stem or scape of a feather; the barrel, tube, or quill proper, which bears no vexilla, and extends from the end of the feather inserted in the skin to the beginning of the rachis where the web or vane commences. See cut under aftershaft.
- n. An ancient Greek measure of length of 10 feet.
- n. [capitalized] A genus of fishes, the porgies, belonging to the family Sparidæ. The group is characterized by the great development of the interhemal bone at the base of the anal spines. This is greatly enlarged and quill-shaped, its open end receiving the posterior end of the large air-bladder. To this structure the Spanish name pez de pluma (quill-fish) and the name Calamus refer. The species are all confined to tropical America and are all esteemed as food.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) The indian cane, a plant of the Palm family. It furnishes the common rattan. See rattan, and dragon's blood.
- n. (Bot.) A species of Acorus (Acorus calamus), commonly called
calamus, or sweet flag. The root has a pungent, aromatic taste, and is used in medicine as a stomachic; the leaves have an aromatic odor, and were formerly used instead of rushes to strew on floors.
- n. (Zoöl.) The horny basal portion of a feather; the barrel or quill.
- n. perennial marsh plant having swordlike leaves and aromatic roots
- n. a genus of Sparidae
- n. the aromatic root of the sweet flag used medicinally
- n. the hollow spine of a feather
- n. any tropical Asian palm of the genus Calamus; light tough stems are a source of rattan canes
- From Latin calamus ("reed, cane"). (Wiktionary)
- Latin, reed, from Greek kalamos. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Herophilus, after whom the torcular herophili within the skull is named, and who invented the term calamus scriptorius for certain appearances in the fourth ventricle.”
“For writing upon paper or parchment, the Romans employed a reed, sharpened and split in the point like our pens, called calamus, arundo, or canna.”
“The "calamus" followed the "brush," just as phonographic writing which denotes arbitrary sounds or the language of symbols, came after the picture or ideographic writing.”
“In the garden grow "an orchard of pomegranates . . . spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense".”
“Centering herself with a deep breath, she drizzled the oil over her hands and fingers, releasing the sharp scents of cinnamon and cassia, myrrh and calamus into the air.”
“Jean-Julien pulled out and uncorked the vial, releasing the pungent odor of bergamot, licorice, and calamus root into the still air—a potent bend-over blend—and carefully tapped a portion of the black powder into the palm of his hand.”
“In 1936 a Polish Anthropologist named Sula Benet discovered that in the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament the word "kaneh bosm" had been translated as calamus by the Greeks when they first rendered the Books in the 3rd century B.C., and then propagated as such in all future translations from the Greek as Hebrew ceased to be a spoken language, not again revived until the 1800's.”
“Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:”
“In 1936 a Polish Anthropologist named Sula Benet discovered that in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament the word "kaneh bosm" had been translated as calamus or fragrant cane by the Greeks when they first rendered the Books in the 3rd century BC.”
“It turns out that a calamus is this beautiful, exotic flower, much beloved by the New England Transcendentalist writers Emerson, Thoreau, et al. for its erotic, phallic shape.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘calamus’.
A list of words that are odd or words that I have looked up.
Fragrant things and terms that describe them. Generic names of botanical binomials aren't capitalized if the unconventional lower case form has a useful Wordnik definition. I'm primarily seeking te...
"Luciferous Logolepsy is a collection of over 9,000 obscure English words. Though the definition of an 'English' word might seem to be straightforward, it is not. There exist so many adopted, deriv...
from the poetry and prose of walt whitman
Words I've come across while reading and looked up in the dictionary.
Wordies relating to birdies. :-)
aka words having to do with scent
Looking for tweets for calamus.