from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Botany Any of numerous plants of the genus Gladiolus, native chiefly to tropical and southern Africa and having sword-shaped leaves and showy, variously colored, irregular flowers arranged in one-sided spikes. Also called sword lily.
  • n. Anatomy The large middle section of the sternum.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The center part of the sternum.
  • n. Any of several flowering plants, of the genus Gladiolus, having sword-shaped leaves and showy flowers on spikes; gladiola.


Middle English gladiol, from Latin gladiolus, wild iris, diminutive of gladius, sword; see gladiator.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin gladiolus ("little sword, sword lily"), diminutive of gladius ("sword"). (Wiktionary)


  • Neuhauser won the first national bee in 1925, acing the word "gladiolus" - which happened to be a kind of flower his family grew back home in Louisville, Ky.

    The Seattle Times

  • Neuhauser won in 1925 with the word "gladiolus" and Bell won in 1926 with the "cerise," so bee officials placed an arrangement of cerise-colored gladioli at the base of the trophy pedestal onstage.

    Pa. girl wins Bee with 'cymotrichous'

  • WASHINGTON - Frank Neuhauser, who in 1925 won the first U.S. national spelling bee with the word "gladiolus," has died. Top headlines

  • Frank Neuhauser, who in 1925 won the first national spelling bee with the word "gladiolus," has died.

    Kansas City Star: Front Page

  • Plant summer bulbs such as gladiolus, dahlias and lilies.

    SFGate: Top News Stories

  • Laura is gone, to the sadness of her family, her Ladies in White and of every gladiolus that has grown and will ever grow over the length and breadth of this island.

    Yoani Sanchez: Laura Pollan, Lady in White, Dies in Havana

  • Frank Neuhauser: First National Spelling Champ Frank Neuhauser may have had a bigger challenge spelling his own name than the winning word of the first national spelling bee: gladiolus.

    Tycoon Churned Out Doctors in Caribbean

  • The flowers I remember from growing up were old-fashioned summer flowers: marigolds, zinnias, calendula, gladiolus, nasturtium, hollyhocks.

    2009 May

  • Thrips feed by sucking the juice out of the leaves and flowers of plants, like vegan mosquitoes, and cause white emaciated damage (see this illustration of gladiolus thrips, by USDA illustrator Art Cushman).

    Dave Snyder: Uncommon Ground Rooftop Farm Update: Week 5

  • But he hoped he at least would earn a point or two for using lilies, freesias, delphiniums and gladiolus.

    You're What?: Chapter Eleven


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