One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
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 (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.’
- 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’.
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