from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several lichens, chiefly of the genus Roccella, from which a dye is obtained.
  • noun The violet dyestuff obtained from any of these lichens.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as archil.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun See archil.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Any of several lichens, especially those of the genera Roccella and Lecanora.
  • noun The dye, orcein, extracted from them.

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

  • noun any of various lecanoras that yield the dye archil
  • noun a purplish dye obtained from orchil lichens


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

[Middle English orchell, ultimately from Old Catalan orxella, from Andalusian dialectal Arabic ’urjālla, of Mozarabic origin, ultimately from Latin ōricilla, a little ear (probably from the resemblance of the lichens to growths on the fetlocks of mules, somewhat resembling little ears ), diminutive of auris, ear; see auricle.]



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  • Usage note/explanation in comment on archil.

    October 4, 2017