type of tall herb or shrub native to the Mediterranean regions, 1660s, from Latin acanthus, name of the plant, from Greek akanthos, from akē "point, thorn" (from PIE root *ak- "be sharp, rise (out) to a point, pierce") + anthos "flower" (see anther). So called for its large spiny leaves. A conventionalized form of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals. Related: Acanthaceous.
American aloe plant, 1797, from Latin agave, from Greek agauē, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble, illustrious," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from agasthai "wonder at," from gaiein "to rejoice, exult," with intensive prefix a-. The name seems to have been taken generically by botanists, the plant perhaps so called for its "stately" flower stem.
late 15c., "blown over, passed away" (as a wind or storm), past-participle adjective from verb overblow "to blow over the top of," of a storm, "to abate, pass on" (late 14c.), from over- + blow (v.1). Sense of "past the time of blossoming or blooming" (as a flower), 1610s, is from blow (v.2). Figurative meaning "inflated, puffed up" (with vanity, etc.) is from 1864.
genus of North American ornamental plants, 1706, from Latin, where it was the name of a flower (Pliny), from Greek phlox "kind of plant with showy flowers" (probably Silene vulgaris), literally "a flame," related to phlegein "to burn" (from PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn"). Applied to the North American flowering plant by German botanist Johann Jakob Dillenius (1684-1747).
also posey, 1530s, "short poetical motto engraved on the inner surface of a ring," an alteration of poesy "poetry; a passage of poetry," which is recorded in this sense from early 15c. Meaning "flower; bunch of flowers, bouquet" is recorded by 1570s, from notion of the language of flowers or a custom of sending verses with flowers as gifts. The original thing later was a posy-ring (by 1833).
1660s, species of narcissus, from French jonquille (17c.), from Spanish junquillo, diminutive of junco "rush, reed," from Latin iuncus "reed, rush," from Proto-Italic *joiniko-, from PIE *ioi-ni- (cognates: Middle Irish ain "reeds, rushes," Old Norse einir, Swedish en "juniper"). So called in reference to the form of its leaves.
From 1791 as the name of a pale yellow color, like that of the flower, and thus a type of canary bird (1865) of that color.
genus of leguminous shrubs, 1731, coined in Modern Latin (1619) from Latin mimus "mime" (see mime (n.)) + -osa, adjectival suffix (fem. of -osus). So called because some species (including the common Sensitive Plant) fold leaves when touched, seeming to mimic animal behavior. As the name of a yellow color like that of the mimosa flower, by 1909. The alcoholic drink (by 1977) is so called from its yellowish color.
1896, marathon race, from story of Greek hero Pheidippides, who in 490 B.C.E. ran to Athens from the Plains of Marathon to tell of the allied Greek victory there over Persian army. The original story (Herodotus) is that he ran from Athens to Sparta to seek aid, which arrived too late to participate in the battle.
It was introduced as an athletic event in the 1896 revival of the Olympic Games, based on a later, less likely story, that Pheidippides ran to Athens from the battlefield with news of the victory. The word quickly was extended to mean "any very long event or activity." The place name is literally "fennel-field." Related: Marathoner (by 1912); Marathonian.
"to bloom, blossom, put forth flowers" (intransitive), from Old English blowan "to flower, blossom, flourish," from Proto-Germanic *blæ- (source also of Old Saxon bloian, Old Frisian bloia, Middle Dutch and Dutch bloeien, Old High German bluoen, German blühen), from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom." This verb is the source of the blown in full-blown. The figurative sense of "attain perfection" is from c. 1600.
1540s, "asphodel," a variant of Middle English affodill "asphodel" (c. 1400), from Medieval Latin affodillus, from Latin asphodelus, from Greek asphodelos, which is of unknown origin. The initial d- is perhaps from merging of the article in Dutch de affodil, the Netherlands being a source for bulbs. First reference to the yellow, early spring flower we know by this name (Narcissus pseudo-Narcissus) is from 1590s. The name has many, often fanciful, variant forms. Lent-lily for "daffodil" is from 1827.