Definition of acanthus in English:

acanthus

Line breaks: acan|thus
Pronunciation: /əˈkanθəs
 
/

noun

  • 1A herbaceous plant or shrub with bold flower spikes and spiny decorative leaves, found in warm regions of the Old World.
    • Genus Acanthus, family Acanthaceae: many species, including bear’s breeches
    More example sentences
    • Then our patch: some of it is paved, there is a frog pond, a fig tree, acanthus, bamboo and cranesbill.
    • Planted beneath it, and in the matching raised bed across the runnel, is a collection of bold and textural plants such as abutilon, acanthus, agapanthus, and Tasmanian tree fern.
    • Spray artichokes, cynara carduncularus, achillea, lavender, hydrangea, acanthus and eryngiums with snow, glitter or metallic paints available from DIY shops.
  • 1.1 Architecture A conventionalized representation of an acanthus leaf, used especially as a decoration for Corinthian column capitals.
    More example sentences
    • The architectural ornament is of that easy and delectable kind which mimics nature: the acanthus leaves of Corinthian capitals, garlands and trophies in the manner of Wren and Grinling Gibbons.
    • While the Greeks had used the Corinthian capital with an Ionic entablature, the Romans invented a distinct cornice for the Corinthian order, characterized by large projecting modillions embellished with acanthus leaves.
    • The architrave includes a Greek key design and other symbols, and the side archivolts are decorated with acanthus leaves.

Origin

via Latin from Greek akanthos, from akantha 'thorn', from akē 'sharp point'; the architectural term dates from the mid 18th century.

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