Definition of geranium in US English:



  • 1A herbaceous plant or small shrub of a genus that comprises the cranesbills and their relatives. Geraniums bear a long, narrow fruit that is said to be shaped like the bill of a crane.

    Genus Geranium, family Geraniaceae

    • ‘The species of Crane's-bills, or wild geraniums, take their name from their distinctive bird's-bill-shaped seed cases.’
    • ‘Is there any blue half so pure, and deep, and tender, as that of the large crane's bill, the geranium pratense of the botanists?’
    • ‘Five large dahlias and several clusters of roses, ageratum, and cranesbill geraniums are usually enough for one bouquet.’
    • ‘It may help to remove alternate roses and replace them with a different plant, such as a hardy geranium (cranesbill).’
    • ‘Other plants like the hardy geraniums proved easy to remove, with buds of new growth indicating their position and neat clumps of roots that fitted snugly into the waiting pots.’
    1. 1.1 (in general or informal use) a cultivated pelargonium.
      • ‘He filled the gutter with a mixture of weedless topsoil, finely screened compost and peat moss and planted his favorites - geraniums - in the mini planter.’
      • ‘I filled it with some organic matter, planted bright red geraniums in the center and placed trailing ivy along the outer edges.’
      • ‘Classic geraniums (planted in terracotta pots) are eye-catching and ever-so Mediterranean, and are slipping back into fashion.’
      • ‘Containers are planted with geraniums and petunias in Ann's favorite colors - pink, lavender, and cerise.’
      • ‘Surround a garden bench with heliotrope or aromatic foliage plants like scented geraniums.’
    2. 1.2 The scarlet color of many cultivated pelargoniums.
      • ‘She thinks navy or royal blue might be better choices than geranium for a woman updating us on conditions at the front.’
      • ‘If she said geranium was the colour of the season, then everyone wore geranium - whether they looked good in it or not.’


Modern Latin, from Greek geranion, from geranos ‘crane’.