Definitions

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

  • n. Any of various perennial Eurasian herbs of the genus Crocus, having grasslike leaves and showy, variously colored flowers.
  • n. Any of several other plants, such as the autumn crocus.
  • n. A grayish to light reddish purple.
  • n. A dark red powdered variety of iron oxide, Fe2O3, used as an abrasive for polishing.
  • n. A coarse, loosely woven material like burlap, once used to make sacks for shipping saffron. See Regional Note at gunnysack.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A perennial flowering plant (of the genus Crocus in the Iridaceae family). Saffron is obtained from the stamens of Crocus sativus.
  • n. Any of various similar flowering plants, such as the autumn crocus and prairie crocus.
  • n. A deep yellow powder, the oxide of some metal (especially iron), calcined to a red or deep yellow colour.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of iridaceous plants, with pretty blossoms rising separately from the bulb or corm. Crocus vernus is one of the earliest of spring-blooming flowers; Crocus sativus produces the saffron, and blossoms in the autumn.
  • n. A deep yellow powder; the oxide of some metal calcined to a red or deep yellow color; esp., the oxide of iron (Crocus of Mars or colcothar) thus produced from salts of iron, and used as a polishing powder.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plant of the genus Crocus.
  • n. A genus of beautiful iridaceous plants, consisting of many hardy species, some of which are among the commonest ornaments of gardens.
  • n. Saffron, obtained from plants of the genus Crocus. See saffron.
  • n. A polishing-powder prepared from crystals of sulphate of iron, calcined in crucibles.
  • n. In old chem., a yellowish or reddish impure oxid of some of the metals: as, crocus antimonii or crocus metallorum, an impure oxid of antimony obtained by deflagration of natural sulphid of antimony with saltpeter; crocus Martis, oxid of iron left on heating sulphate of iron to redness in the air; crocus Veneris, red oxid of copper obtained by heating copper in the air.

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

  • n. any of numerous low-growing plants of the genus Crocus having slender grasslike leaves and white or yellow or purple flowers; native chiefly to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated

Etymologies

Middle English, saffron, from Old French, from Latin, from Greek krokos; perhaps from a source akin to Arabic kurkum, saffron.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Through Latin crocus, from Ancient Greek κρόκος (krokos, "crocus"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "5. In old chem., a yellowish or reddish impure oxid of some of the metals: as, crocus antimonii or crocus metallorum, an impure oxid of antimony obtained by deflagration of natural sulphid of antimony with saltpeter; crocus Martis, oxid of iron left on heating sulphate of iron to redness in the air; crocus Veneris, red oxid of copper obtained by heating copper in the air."

    --Century Dictionary

    February 11, 2011