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n. pl. a·can·thus·es or a·can·thi (-thī′)
1. Any of various perennial herbs or small shrubs of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean and having pinnately lobed basal leaves with spiny margins and showy spikes of white or purplish flowers.
2. Architecture A design patterned after the leaves of one of these plants, used especially on the capitals of Corinthian columns.

[New Latin Acanthus, genus name, from Greek akanthos, thorn plant, from akantha, thorn.]

a·can′thine (-thĭn, -thīn) adj.


(əˈkænθəs) (əˈkænθ) or


n, pl -thuses or -thi (-θaɪ)
1. (Plants) any shrub or herbaceous plant of the genus Acanthus, native to the Mediterranean region but widely cultivated as ornamental plants, having large spiny leaves and spikes of white or purplish flowers: family Acanthaceae. See also bear's-breech
2. (Architecture) a carved ornament based on the leaves of the acanthus plant, esp as used on the capital of a Corinthian column
[C17: New Latin, from Greek akanthos, from akantha thorn, spine]


(əˈkæn θəs)

n., pl. -thus•es, -thi (-θaɪ)
1. any of several plants of the genus Acanthus, of the Mediterranean region, having spiny or toothed leaves and showy white or purplish flowers.
2. an architectural ornament, as on a Corinthian capital, resembling the leaves of this plant.
[1610–20; < New Latin, Latin < Greek ákanthos bear's-foot]
a•can′thine (-θɪn, -θaɪn) adj.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.acanthus - any plant of the genus Acanthus having large spiny leaves and spikes or white or purplish flowersacanthus - any plant of the genus Acanthus having large spiny leaves and spikes or white or purplish flowers; native to Mediterranean region but widely cultivated
herb, herbaceous plant - a plant lacking a permanent woody stem; many are flowering garden plants or potherbs; some having medicinal properties; some are pests
genus Acanthus - bear's breeches
Acanthus mollis, bear's breech, bear's breeches, sea holly - widely cultivated southern European acanthus with whitish purple-veined flowers


[əˈkænθəs] N (acanthuses, acanthi (pl)) → acanto m


n (= plant)Bärenklau f, → Akanthus m (also Archit)
References in classic literature ?
cried one of them, to a sort of little, light-haired imp, with a well-favored and malign countenance, clinging to the acanthus leaves of a capital; "you are well named John of the Mill, for your two arms and your two legs have the air of four wings fluttering on the breeze.
Thus talking hand in hand alone they pass'd On to thir blissful Bower; it was a place Chos'n by the sovran Planter, when he fram'd All things to mans delightful use; the roofe Of thickest covert was inwoven shade Laurel and Mirtle, and what higher grew Of firm and fragrant leaf; on either side ACANTHUS, and each odorous bushie shrub Fenc'd up the verdant wall; each beauteous flour, IRIS all hues, Roses, and Gessamin Rear'd high thir flourisht heads between, and wrought Mosaic; underfoot the Violet, Crocus, and Hyacinth with rich inlay Broiderd the ground, more colour'd then with stone Of costliest Emblem: other Creature here Beast, Bird, Insect, or Worm durst enter none; Such was thir awe of man.
It is a truly grotesque vegetation, whose forms and color we see imitated in bronze, a sort of architectural foliage more ancient and typical than acanthus, chiccory, ivy, vine, or any vegetable leaves; destined perhaps, under some circumstances, to become a puzzle to future geologists.
He had a glimpse, as the Vaterland rolled over, of some large buildings burning close below them, a quivering acanthus of flames, and then he saw indistinctly through the driving weather another airship wallowing along like a porpoise, and also working up.
Verbascum, primula, Japanese anemones, acanthus, oriental poppies and phlox are all suitable species for this method.
LA FEMME FATALE" is engraved on the body of the ring along with decorative acanthus leaves.
A QUINTESSENTIALLY French mirror decorated with swags, bows and acanthus leaves, this is an ideal addition to bedrooms.
Packed with original features, including the York flooring in the kitchen and the wooden shutters in the reception room, this eight-bedroom home has plenty of charm, with neoclassical details such as Egyptian carvings on the door and window frames, ceiling roses with acanthus leaves, plus acanthus leaf ceiling borders and vine leaf friezes.
The vehicle is available in the gun maker Holland & Holland's signature green colour, with its badging on the side vents and tailgate and an interior with an acanthus scroll design, while the dashboard features a diamond pattern inspired by Holland & Holland firearm stocks and the executive seating has 17 degrees of recline.
Still, it was no mean task for Jamie to rid one of Acanthus spinosus.
The collection features the very recognisable Barocco motif, given new interpretations in three patterns: the Barocco Flowers, where the curlicues of Acanthus leaves match with an explosion of their own little flowers.
The building has been designed by Huntly-based Acanthus Architects.