Definition of centaury in US English:



  • A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the gentian family, typically having pink petals atop long calyx tubes.

    Centaurium and related genera, family Gentianaceae: many species, including the wild C. pulchellum and the cultivated ornamental C. scilloides

    • ‘Centaury varies a great deal according to) its situation, and some botanists enumerate several distinct species.’
    • ‘The mythical centaur Chironia, cured a poison arrow wound with centaury, hence its name.’
    • ‘The leaves, stems, and flowers of centaury are used medicinally.’


Late Middle English: from late Latin centaurea, based on Greek kentauros ‘centaur’ (because its medicinal properties were said to have been discovered by the centaur Chiron).