One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bulbous plant of the lily family with broad tapering leaves, native to eastern Asia and widely grown as a houseplant.
Genus Aspidistra, family Liliaceae
- ‘Line vases with aspidistra leaf and focus attention on the flowers by hiding the stems.’
- ‘You might have thought that I was actually getting out of the lift to inspect the aspidistra in the hallway.’
- ‘Ivy and aspidistras make excellent hall companions, as do bowls of spring buds that can later be transplanted outside.’
- ‘More than 26,000 people made the trip to inspect the acers and aspidistras at what is fast becoming one of the best, and best-loved, horticultural events in the North of England.’
- ‘This was furnished only with a dark wood stand, topped by a substantial aspidistra.’
- ‘These were recorded in 1949, and are excellently performed, although, as far as the music goes, they belong next to the potted aspidistra in the front foyer.’
- ‘He watched as Alicia left the restaurant, then he rushed out into the foyer and hid behind a large potted aspidistra from where he could see the road.’
- ‘The Cabinet Room looked like a war zone - pie crusts everywhere and Frank sobbing quietly into the aspidistra.’
- ‘If you had to name one item that might symbolise the Victorian drawing room, you might opt for the aspidistra plant, seen in most Victorian households.’
- ‘As English as an aspidistra in the bay window of a bungalow, Orwell grew to love and loathe his heritage in equal measure.’
- ‘In the far corner, against the washbasin, stood a large aspidistra.’
- ‘He said that, once, no home would have been complete without an aspidistra in the living room.’
- ‘We do not know what it showed - but something more exciting than two frozenly rigid, ceremonially dressed adults alongside an aspidistra.’
- ‘As a rule of thumb, it's hard to go wrong with classics like the parlour palm, dracaenas, rubber plants, aspidistra (I've always fancied a variegated one), cacti, succulents and the umbrella plant.’
- ‘Maybe it would be better to put an aspidistra on it and call it a feature.’
- ‘The proper pastoral response would have been to accept it and drink it happily, or (if that was really impossible) pour it on the aspidistra.’
- ‘There are those on bicycles and charabancs, in schoolrooms, around maypoles, and beside aspidistras.’
- ‘Damian had to carefully move a large aspidistra in order to squeeze into the room behind Hans-Raoul, and Sally glared at him as he did so.’
Early 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek aspis, aspid- ‘shield’ (because of the shape of the stigma), on the pattern of Tupistra, a related genus.
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