Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of numerous usually evergreen ornamental shrubs of the genus Rhododendron of the North Temperate Zone, having clusters of variously colored, often bell-shaped flowers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various flowering shrubs in the genus Rhododendron.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of shrubs or small trees, often having handsome evergreen leaves, and remarkable for the beauty of their flowers; rosebay.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A large genus of shrubs of the order Ericaceæ and tribe Rhodoreæ.
  • n. It is characterized by a broad, spreading, and oblique corolla, usually with five imbricating lobes; eight to ten stamens, the anthers opening by pores; and a five to twenty-celled ovary with numerous ovules in many crowded rows, the seeds appendaged. There are about 170 species, natives of the mountains of Europe, Asia, the Malay archipelago, and North America, most abundant in the Himalayas. They are commonly shrubs, less often trees, smooth, hairy, woolly, or scurfy, and often with whorled branches. They bear alternate entire leaves, most often crowded at the ends of the branches. Their handsome flowers are commonly borne in corymbs, and have conspicuous, more or less unequal, long, slender, and curving stamens, with long hairs clothing their base. The fruit is a woody pod, splitting septicidally from the apex into valves, and filled with seeds like fine sawdust, each containing a cylindrical embryo and fleshy albumen. Most of the species, and all of those best known, produce their new growths below the flowers, which form a terminal inflorescence destitute of leaves, and developed from a large scaly bud. The leaves in the typical species, forming the section Rhododendron proper, are evergreen and coriaceous; but they are deciduous in the sections Azalea and Tsusia, which include the American species commonly known as azaleas, and produce leaves closely encircling the flowers, or, in Tsusia, mixed with them. The flowers, nearly or quite 2 inches across, often reach in R. Aucklandiæ a breadth of 6 inches. See pinkster-flower.
  • n. [lowercase] Any one of the many species of the above genus, belonging to the section Rhododendron; the rose-bay.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any shrub of the genus Rhododendron: evergreen shrubs or small shrubby trees having leathery leaves and showy clusters of campanulate (bell-shaped) flowers

Etymologies

Latin, oleander, from Greek : rhodo-, rhodo- + dendron, tree.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek ῥόδον (rhodon, "rose") + δένδρον (dendron, "tree"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • At the word rhododendron, a rather large, handsome fellow, dressed in a pretentious style, slipped from his mule and climbed the somewhat steep precipice in quest of the flowers which seemed to be so much in favor.

    Gerfaut — Complete

  • The last photo ofd the rhododendron is a fitting finale to your beautiful post.

    May Bloom Day 2009 « Fairegarden

  • His symptoms led to the conclusion that his troubles were likely caused by grayanotoxin poisoning, also known as rhododendron poisoning and "mad honey intoxication."

    The Seattle Times

  • Instead of transplanting, some plants, such as rhododendron or viburnum, might be made into small trees.

    Prime time to tame overgrown lawns

  • There is a kind of rhododendron about Trebizond of which the bees make a honey that drives people mad!

    The Redemption of David Corson

  • From 6000 to 7000 feet, plants of the temperate regions blend with the tropical; such as rhododendron, oak, ivy, geranium, berberry, clematis, and shrubby _Vaccinia, _ which all made their appearance at Loongtoong, another Bhoteea village.

    Himalayan Journals — Complete

  • Success is also a word that Stephanie Tanner tried to spell "rhododendron" in a spelling bee.

    The Hardball Times

  • With the lowest soil pH requirement of all berries, blueberries grow in the same acidic conditions that please other native shrubs such as rhododendron and azaleas.

    Mother Earth News Latest 10 Articles

  • oh, and a picture of our red rhododendron which is beginning to bloom. spring!

    click me

  • The new family in his old house removed the big juniper bushes and rhododendron from the front of the house.

    nests

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Yes! How did you know?

    P.S. Please add mouth-brakes somewhere.

    August 15, 2008

  • Particularly fun to attempt slamming the mouth-brakes if you accent the second syllable instead of the third. :)

    August 15, 2008

  • I like how you have to slam on the brakes at the end so your mouth doesn't keep saying it.

    August 15, 2008

  • In my opinion, one of the funniest words in the English language.

    August 15, 2008

  • Apparently Philip Pullman's favourite word.

    December 1, 2007