Etymology
Advertisement

orchid (n.)

1845, introduced by John Lindley in the third edition of "School Botany," from Modern Latin Orchideæ (Linnaeus), the plant's family name, from Latin orchis, a kind of orchid, from Greek orkhis (genitive orkheos) "orchid," literally "testicle," from PIE *h(o)rghi-, the standard Indo-European word for "testicle" (source also of Avestan erezi, Armenian orjik'"testicles," Old Irish uirge, Hittite arki- "testicle," Lithuanian eržilas "stallion").

The plant so called because of the shape of its root; Greek orkhis also was the name of a kind of olive, also so called for its shape. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c. 1300; see ballocks). The modern word is marred by an extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem. Related: Orchidaceous.

updated on September 15, 2019

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of orchid from WordNet

orchid (n.)
any of numerous plants of the orchid family usually having flowers of unusual shapes and beautiful colors;
Synonyms: orchidaceous plant
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.