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[jen-shuh n] /ˈdʒɛn ʃən/

any of several plants of the genera Gentiana, Gentianella, and Gentianopsis, having usually blue, or sometimes yellow, white, or red, flowers, as the fringed gentian of North America, or Gentiana lutea, of Europe.
Compare .
any of various plants resembling the gentian.
the root of G. lutea, or a preparation of it, used as a tonic.
any gentianaceous plant of the genera Gentiana or Gentianella, having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
the bitter-tasting dried rhizome and roots of Gentiana lutea (European or yellow gentian), which can be used as a tonic
any of several similar plants, such as the horse gentian

late 14c., genciane, from Old French genciane and directly from Latin gentiana, said by Pliny to be named for Gentius, king of ancient Illyria who discovered its properties. This likely is a folk-etymology, but the word may be Illyrian nonetheless, because the suffix -an frequently occurs in Illyrian words.


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  • Gentianaceous

    [jen-shee-uh-ney-shuh s] /ˌdʒɛn ʃi əˈneɪ ʃəs/ adjective 1. belonging to the plant family Gentianaceae. /ˌdʒɛnʃɪəˈneɪʃəs/ adjective 1. of, relating to, or belonging to the Gentianaceae, a family of flowering plants that includes centaury, felwort, and gentian

  • Gentian blue

    noun 1.

  • Gentianella

    /ˌdʒɛnʃəˈnɛlə; -ʃɪə-/ noun 1. any of various gentianaceous plants, esp the alpine species Gentiana acaulis, which has showy blue flowers 2. any of several related plants of the genus Gentianella

  • Gentian-family

    noun 1. the plant family Gentianaceae, typified by herbaceous plants having simple opposite leaves, usually blue flowers with five united petals, and fruit in the form of a capsule, and including the closed gentian, fringed gentian, centaury, exacum, and marsh pink.

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