- any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, of temperate and tropical regions, having usually showy flowers.Compare orchid family.
- the flower of any of these plants.
- a bluish to reddish purple.
- variant of orchido- before a vowel: orchidology.
- any terrestrial or epiphytic plant of the family Orchidaceae, often having flowers of unusual shapes and beautiful colours, specialized for pollination by certain insectsSee bee orchid, burnt-tip orchid, fly orchid, frog orchid, lady orchid, lizard orchid, man orchid, monkey orchid, purple-fringed orchid, pyramidal orchid, scented orchid, spider orchid, spotted orchid
n.1845, introduced by John Lindley in “School Botanty,” 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 *orghi-, the standard root for “testicle” (cf. Avestan erezi “testicles,” Armenian orjik, Middle Irish uirgge, Irish uirge “testicle,” Lithuanian erzilas “stallion”). The plant so called because of the shape of its root. Earlier in English in Latin form, orchis (1560s), and in Middle English it was ballockwort (c.1300; see ballocks). Marred by extraneous -d- in an attempt to extract the Latin stem.