- any of several plants of the genera Gentiana, Gentianella, and Gentianopsis, having usually blue, or sometimes yellow, white, or red, flowers, as the fringed gentian of North America, or Gentiana lutea, of Europe.Compare gentian family.
- any of various plants resembling the gentian.
- the root of G. lutea, or a preparation of it, used as a tonic.
- any gentianaceous plant of the genera Gentiana or Gentianella, having blue, yellow, white, or red showy flowers
- the bitter-tasting dried rhizome and roots of Gentiana lutea (European or yellow gentian), which can be used as a tonic
- any of several similar plants, such as the horse gentian
late 14c., genciane, from Old French genciane and directly from Latin gentiana, said by Pliny to be named for Gentius, king of ancient Illyria who discovered its properties. This likely is a folk-etymology, but the word may be Illyrian nonetheless, because the suffix -an frequently occurs in Illyrian words.