1660s, from Latin acanthus, from Greek akanthos, from ake "point, thorn" (see acrid) + anthos "flower" (see anther). So called because of its huge spiny leaves. A conventionalized kind of the leaf is used in Corinthian capitals.
any plant of the genus Acanthus having huge spiny leaves and spikes or white or purplish flowers; native to Mediterranean area but widely cultivated
- A genus of herbaceous prickly flowers, based in the southu000du000a of Europe, Asia Minor, and India; bear's breech.
- An ornament resembling the foliage or leaves of the acanthus (Acanthus spinosus); -- used in the capitals of Corinthian and Composite requests.
soft-leaved bear's-breech [Acanthus mollis, syn.: A. spinulosus]
(n.) A genus of herbaceous prickly plants, found in the south of Europe, Asia Minor, and India; bear's-breech.
- (letter.) An ornament resembling the foliage or leaves associated with the acanthus (spinosus); -- found in the capitals for the Corinthian and Composite sales.
The greater part of its body is covered by a pattern of acanthus leaves, but on the shoulder is a frieze showing nomads breaking in wild mares, our chief authority for Scythian costume.