Student Dictionary

2 entries found for geranium.
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Main Entry: ge·ra·ni·um
Pronunciation: jschwa-primarystressramacr-nemacron-schwam
Function: noun
Etymology: from Latin geranium "geranium," from Greek geranion, literally, "little crane," from geranos "crane"
1 : any of a genus of herbs with usually deeply cut leaves and typically white, pink, or purple flowers in which glands alternate with the petals
2 : any of a genus of herbs native to southern Africa with showy flowers of usually red, pink, or white
Word History Many of the plants in the geranium family have long, thin, pointed seedpods or fruits that look like the bills of birds. The ancient Greeks noticed this resemblance. They named the wild geranium geranion, literally meaning "little crane," for the long-legged, long-billed wading bird. English borrowed the Latin form geranium. English also borrowed the idea that the geranium's seedpod looks like a bird's bill. The common English name of the wild geranium is cranesbill.

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