Definitions

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

  • noun A branching flower cluster, as of a lilac, in which the central axis is indeterminate and the lateral branches are determinate cymes.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as thyrsus, 1.
  • noun In botany, a contracted or ovate panicle, being a mixed or compound form of inflorescence in which the primary ramification is centripetal and the secondary or ultimate is centrifugal.
  • noun A small earthenware vessel, of a form resembling that of a pine-cone, especially such a vessel of ancient make.

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

  • noun A thyrsus.

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

  • noun botany A type of inflorescence; a compact panicle having an obscured main axis and cymose subaxes
  • noun archaic A thyrsus

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

  • noun a dense flower cluster (as of the lilac or horse chestnut) in which the main axis is racemose and the branches are cymose

Etymologies

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

[Latin thyrsus, thyrsus; see thyrsus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Ancient Greek θύρσος (thursos) via Latin thyrsus and French thyrse.

Examples

  • The Old English word ‘thyrse’ or ‘thurse’ is obsolete in modern English but occasionally appears in place names, e.g.

    Old English gods and myths: Eotens

  • Grendel is referred to once in Beowulf as ‘thyrse’, line 426.

    Old English gods and myths: Eotens

  • Michael Alexander translates ‘thyrse’ as ‘troll’ in Beowulf for the alliteration – “a trial against this troll”.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • Michael Alexander translates ‘thyrse’ as ‘troll’ in Beowulf for the alliteration – “a trial against this troll”.

    Old English gods and myths: Eotens

  • The Old English word ‘thyrse’ or ‘thurse’ is obsolete in modern English but occasionally appears in place names, e.g.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • Grendel is referred to once in Beowulf as ‘thyrse’, line 426.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • The Old English word ‘thyrse’ or ‘thurse’ is obsolete in modern English but occasionally appears in place names, e.g.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • Grendel is referred to once in Beowulf as ‘thyrse’, line 426.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • Michael Alexander translates ‘thyrse’ as ‘troll’ in Beowulf for the alliteration – “a trial against this troll”.

    Kings of Lindsey

  • It presumably influenced word choice in the original, since the poet uses a variety of words e.g. eoten, thyrse to refer to Grendel, so they were presumably sufficiently close in meaning to do duty for each other as the metre dictated.

    Old English gods and myths: Eotens

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