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

  • n. Any of several bulbous Eurasian and African plants of the genus Scilla, having narrow leaves and bell-shaped blue, white, or pink flowers.
  • n. See sea onion.
  • n. The dried inner scales of the bulbs of any of these plants, used as rat poison and formerly as a cardiac stimulant, expectorant, and diuretic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A European bulbous liliaceous plant, of the genus Scilla, used in medicine for its acrid, expectorant, diuretic, and emetic properties
  • n. A mantis shrimp, Squilla mantis, from the Mediterranean

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n.
  • n. A European bulbous liliaceous plant (Urginea maritima, formerly Scilla maritima), of acrid, expectorant, diuretic, and emetic properties, used in medicine. Called also sea onion.
  • n. Any bulbous plant of the genus Scilla.
  • n.
  • n. A squilla.
  • n. A mantis.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The medicinal bulb of Urginea Scilla, or the plant itself; the officinal squill. See Urginea.
  • n. Any plant of the genus Scilla (which see).
  • n. A stomatopodous crustacean of the genus Squilla or family Squillidæ; a mantis-shrimp or squill-fish. See cuts under mantis-shrimp and Squillidæ.
  • n. An insect so called from its resemblance to the preceding; a mantis. Also called squill-insect.

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

  • n. an Old World plant of the genus Scilla having narrow basal leaves and pink or blue or white racemose flowers
  • n. bulb of the sea squill, which is sliced, dried, and used as an expectorant
  • n. having dense spikes of small white flowers and yielding a bulb with medicinal properties


Middle English, from Latin scilla, squilla, shrimp, squill, from Greek skilla.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French squille or scille, from Latin squilla. (Wiktionary)



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  • Squill are flowering in Bunhill Fields. With the aid of image search I have finally identified those blue jobs. From Latin squilla, variant of usual (and Linnean) scilla, from Greek. I wonder why the variation? Could it be a late reborrowing, from the time when ci and qui had begun to change their sounds?

    March 16, 2009