from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Any of numerous flowerless, seedless vascular plants having roots, stems, and fronds and reproducing by spores.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Any of a group of some twenty thousand species of vascular plants classified in the Division Pteridophyta (formerly known by some as Filicophyta) that lacks seeds and reproduces by shedding spores to initiate an alternation of generations.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adv. Long ago.
- adj. Ancient; old. [Obs.] “Pilgrimages to … ferne halwes.” [saints].
- n. An order of cryptogamous plants, the Filices, which have their fructification on the back of the fronds or leaves. They are usually found in humid soil, sometimes grow epiphytically on trees, and in tropical climates often attain a gigantic size.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. One of a large group of vascular cryptogamous plants, constituting the natural order Filices.
- Ancient; old; former; past; previous.
- Distant; remote; far off.
- Long ago; long before.
- n. In Australia, Ophioderma pendula.
- n. The royal fern, Osmunda regalis, which grows in low, wet situations and is thus associated popularly with snakes. See Osmunda.
- n. In Australia, Grammitis australis, a small species with simple leaves.
- n. Same as floating-fern. See Ceratopteris.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. any of numerous flowerless and seedless vascular plants having true roots from a rhizome and fronds that uncurl upward; reproduce by spores
Middle English, from Old English fearn; see per-2 in Indo-European roots.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English fearn, from Proto-Germanic *farnan (cf. Dutch varen, German Farn), from Proto-Indo-European *pornóm 'wing, feather' (cf. Lithuanian spar̃nas, Albanian fier 'fern', Avestan parəna, Sanskrit parṇám), from *per- 'feather' (cf. Tocharian B parwa, Old Church Slavonic pero). (Wiktionary)