any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy, white or purplish flowers.
Compare .
an architectural ornament, as in the Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.
of or resembling an acanthus
decorated with acanthus leaves
noun (pl) -thuses, -thi (-θaɪ)
any shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family Acanthaceae See also bear’s-breech
a carved ornament based on the leaves of the acanthus plant, esp as used on the capital of a Corinthian column

1660s, from Latin acanthus, from Greek akanthos, from ake “point, thorn” (see acrid) + anthos “flower” (see anther). So called for its large spiny leaves. A conventionalized form of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals.


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