Definition of lotus in US English:



  • 1Any of a number of large water lilies.

    (also 'sacred lotus') a lily of Asia and northern Australia, typically with dark pink or white-and-pink flowers (Nelumbo nucifera, family Nelumbonaceae)

    (also 'Egyptian lotus') a lily regarded as sacred in ancient Egypt (the white-flowered Nymphaea lotus and the blue-flowered N. caerulea, family Nymphaeaceae)

    (also 'American lotus') a yellow-flowered North American lily with bowl-shaped leaves (Nelumbo lutea, family Nelumbonaceae)

    • ‘Red lotuses floated on the surface of the water.’
    • ‘Many serious photographers were already in attendance to catch lotuses in full morning light.’
    • ‘Only the local fishermen know their way through the maze of tall reeds to the oases of lotuses and water lilies concealed within.’
    • ‘With a larger pond, you can have lilies or tiger lotus, maybe some taro or umbrella palm that will help shade the pond surface.’
    • ‘The stout tubers of the waterlily and the lotus are edible when properly prepared, and have been an important starch crop both in Asia and North America.’
    • ‘The pond is full of lotuses, with their red, blue, green, white and yellow flowers emitting rays of light of the same colors.’
    • ‘All water lilies and lotuses studied have aerenchyma.’
    • ‘If your pond is at least three feet deep, you can experiment with wild rice, water lotus, and water lily.’
    • ‘Choose round containers for lotuses so future runners don't get jammed in square corners.’
    • ‘Wild rice could have been found in the deeper waters of the backwater sloughs along with white water lily, American lotus, arrowleaf, duckweeds, and pondweed.’
    • ‘The water level is low, and red lotuses float on its surface.’
    • ‘Apart from using the water, they can also be home to water plants such as lilies and lotuses.’
    • ‘The flower of summer was the lotus, autumn the chrysanthemum, winter the plum blossom, and spring the peony.’
    • ‘Dotted across the ponds lotus flowers and water lilies are coming into bloom.’
    • ‘You see Thais offering white lotuses, waving incense and kneeling in quiet prayer at the various temples to the Enlightened One.’
    • ‘We would play around the fountains, and if we had money to hire a boat from the boating club, go boating in the ponds navigating carefully through a crowd of lotuses and lilies.’
    • ‘Many indigenous fish species in the lake, such as catfish, locally known as keting, melem and belida disappeared when people started taking the lotuses from the lake.’
    • ‘In early summer, the new lotuses bud and come out of the water, so the green water is dotted with white and pink flowers.’
    • ‘If tourists visit the garden in summer, they will be astonished by the pleasing green and red of thickly dotted lotuses.’
    • ‘A male bee enticed by the fragrance of the lotus flew into it.’
  • 2Greek Mythology
    (in Greek mythology) a legendary plant whose fruit induces a dreamy forgetfulness and an unwillingness to depart.

    • ‘The starving men ate the fruit, but Ulysses quickly understood that the lotus fruit destroyed men's memories.’
    • ‘The music is inspired by the Ancient Greek myth of island dwellers whose diet of fruit from the lotus tree makes them forget their past troubles.’
  • 3The flower of the sacred lotus as a symbol in Asian art and religion.

    ‘a myth of creation states that Buddha was born of a thousand-petaled gold lotus’
    • ‘In one popular depiction, he sits on a lotus flower between the Hindu gods Brahm and Indra and creates a vast number of lotuses all with himself seated in their centers.’
    • ‘The lotus flower symbolises the complete purification of the defilements of the body, speech and mind, and the full blossoming of wholesome deeds in blissful liberation.’
    • ‘The Asian sacred lotus represents the highest branch on the botanical family tree that shows heat generation.’
    • ‘Ganesh offers her one of his enchanted lotus flowers so that she might visit Buddha in the sky.’
    • ‘Two Swords are crossed in inner and outer conflict today but the flowering lotus, a symbol of love, in the middle of the two swords brings peace and compromise.’
  • 4

    short for lotus position


Late 15th century (denoting a type of clover or trefoil, described by Homer as food for horses): via Latin from Greek lōtos, of Semitic origin. The term was used by classical writers to denote various trees and plants; the legendary plant ( lotus (sense 2)), mentioned by Homer, was thought by later Greek writers to be Ziziphus lotus, a relative of the jujube.