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

  • n. Any of numerous plants of the genus Gentiana, characteristically having showy, variously colored flowers.
  • n. The dried rhizome and roots of a yellow-flowered European gentian, G. lutea, sometimes used as a tonic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various herbs of the family Gentianaceae found in temperate and mountainous regions with violet or blue flowers.
  • n. The dried roots and rhizome of a European gentian, Gentiana lutea, used as a tonic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any one of a genus (Gentiana) of herbaceous plants with opposite leaves and a tubular four- or five-lobed corolla, usually blue, but sometimes white, yellow, or red. See Illust. of capsule.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The common name for species of the genus Gentiana.
  • n. The pineweed or orange-grass, Sarothra gentianoides.
  • n. The soapwort-gentian.
  • n. Same as. striped gentian.
  • n. The American columbo, Frasera Carolinensis.

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

  • n. any of various plants of the family Gentianaceae especially the genera Gentiana and Gentianella and Gentianopsis


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

Middle English gencian, from Old French genciane, from Latin gentiāna, perhaps after Gentius, second-century B.C. king of Illyria.


  • The Marmolata having retired from the scene, we now turn back, taking a short cut across the dreary "Col" and finding by the way some exquisite specimens of wild Daphne (Daphne Cneorum), abundance of the small mountain gentian (Gentiana verna), and large clusters of a very lovely, tiny pink flower with wax-like petals, minute and close as a lichen, and unlike anything that either of us has ever seen before.

    Untrodden Peaks and Unfrequented Valleys

  • I use it, or another herb called gentian in animals as a tincture to stimulate appetite.

    Dr. Richard Palmquist: Science Rediscovers the Forgotten Herb Andrographis

  • One of only two brands of bitters to survive prohibition, it's derived from a flowering plant known as a gentian, and is thinner than many other bitters, with less cloying flavors.

  • If the patient is run down in condition, bitter tonics, such as gentian, may be given in 2-dram doses twice a day and a liberal diet of grain allowed.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

  • Some mild and general tonic will likewise be useful, such as gentian and ginger.

    The Dog

  • I find it hard to countenance how such an exotic thing can do so well so far from its home in South America, but here it is, lighting up my garden still, its gentian-blue flowers defiant and powering on strongly.

    Stunning salvias

  • Count the birds, notice the small blossoms just budding along the streambanks: gentian, violet crocus, bellflower.

    Cato's Dog Was Right

  • This tiny gentian, so faithful to the earth in its teardrop of honey-colored amber, bloomed and became immortal thirty-five million years before anyone thought of God.

    Six Poems By Dan Gerber: Narrative Magazine's Friday Feature

  • Instead, she smiled broadly as she painted the wound with gentian violet and sent the patient on his way.

    Lipstick in Afghanistan

  • Mama says she named me this because the gentian blossom is the exact same color blue as my eyes.

    The World Above


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  • See diatessaron.

    January 24, 2011

  • from "The Richard Nixon Freischutz Rag" by Guy Davenport

    January 19, 2010

  • "... later tests showed the stuff to be a compound of bone meal, charcoal, salt, pepper, chalk, baking soda, a flowering plant called gentian that was used as a flavoring in Moxie soda pop, and trace amounts of strychnine, or rat poison, which was then thought by some (crackpots) to have a cocainelike effect."

    —Charles Leerhsen, Crazy Good: The True Story of Dan Patch (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008), 244–245

    October 28, 2008