noun, plural cen·tau·ries.
- any of various plants belonging to the genus Centaurium, of the gentian family, having clusters of small pink or red flowers.
- any of several other plants of the genera Centaurea and Sabatia.
noun plural -ries
- any Eurasian plant of the genus Centaurium, esp C. erythraea, having purplish-pink flowers and formerly believed to have medicinal properties: family Gentianaceae
- any plant of the genus Centaurea, which includes the cornflower and knapweed: family Compositae (composites)
small plant with red flowers (now usually erythraea Centaureum), late 14c., from Medieval Latin centaurea, from Latin centaureum, from Greek kentaureion, from kentauros “centaur” (see centaur), so called according to Pliny because the plant’s medicinal properties were discovered by Chiron the centaur.
German Tausendgüldenkraut is based on a mistranslation of the Latin word, as if from centum + aurum (the similarity might be the result of Roman folk etymology).