1860, coined by English inventor Frederick Walton (1837-1928), from Latin linum "flax, linen" (see linen) + oleum "oil" (see oil (n.)) and intended to indicate "linseed-oil cloth." Originally, a preparation of solidified linseed oil used to coat canvas for making floor coverings; the word was applied to the flooring material itself after 1878. The Linoleum Manufacturing Company was formed 1864.
tropical food plant, 1769, from Polynesian (Tahitian or Maori) taro. Compare Hawaiian kalo.
dried root of a South American shrub, used as an emetic, purgative, nauseant, etc., 1710, borrowing via Portuguese of a shortened form of Tupi ipecacuana (a word attested in English from 1682), a medicinal plant of Brazil. The Indian word is said to mean "small plant causing vomit."
species of tall herbs native to Europe and western Asia, 1660s, a Modern Latin translation of German fingerhut, the German name of the plant, a transferred use of the German word for "thimble," literally "finger-hat," the plant so called for the bell-shape of the flowers. Compare the English name, foxglove. The Latin name was given by Fuchs (1542). The medicine (originally extracted from the plant) is so called from 1799.
1730, "plant which blooms," agent noun from bloom (v.).
1550s, "the grain of Indian corn;" 1580s of the cereal plant of the grass family that produces it, from Cuban Spanish maiz, from Arawakan (Haiti) mahiz, the native name of the plant. In Europe it was formerly also called Turkey corn; like the fowl, this is from mistaken notions of its origin.
type of plant (in modern use Rubia tinctorum) yielding a valuable dyestuff, Old English mædere and Old Norse maðra, from PIE *modhro- "dye plant" (source also of Old High German matara "madder," Polish modry, Czech modry "blue").
perfume made from an odoriferous Indian plant of the mint family, 1845, from the native name of the plant in Madras, which is said to be from Tamil pachchai "green" + ilai "leaf." The form of the word appears French, but this has not been explained and the record of it in English predates that in French.
marsh-plant found in colder parts of Europe and America, 1789, from Latin calla, the name in Pliny of an unidentified plant, perhaps a mistake for calyx. The common calla-lily (1805) is a related species, not a lily but so called for the appearance of the flowers.
late 14c., papirus, from Latin papyrus "the paper plant," also the paper made from it, from Greek papyros "any plant of the paper plant genus," a loan-word of unknown origin, often said to be Egyptian. The classically correct plural is papyri. A type of rush or reed formerly abundant on marshy river banks in Egypt, Palestine, etc., it afforded the ancient Egyptians a convenient and inexpensive writing surface. Related: Papyraceous.