noun, plural cro·cus·es.

  1. any of the small, bulbous plants of the genus Crocus, of the iris family, cultivated for their showy, solitary flowers, which are among the first to bloom in the spring.
  2. the flower or bulb of the crocus.
  3. a deep yellow; orangish yellow; saffron.
  4. Also called crocus martis [mahr-tis] /ˈmɑr tɪs/. a polishing powder consisting of iron oxide.

noun plural -cuses

  1. any plant of the iridaceous genus Crocus, widely cultivated in gardens, having white, yellow, or purple flowersSee also autumn crocus
  2. another name for jeweller’s rouge


  1. of a saffron yellow colour

late 14c., from Latin crocus, from Greek krokos “saffron, crocus,” probably of Semitic origin (cf. Arabic kurkum), ultimately from Sanskrit kunkumam, unless the Sanskrit word is from the Semitic one. The autumnal crocus (Crocus sativa) was a common source of yellow dye in Roman times, and was perhaps grown in England, where the word existed as Old English croh, but this form of the word was forgotten by the time the plant was re-introduced in Western Europe by the Crusaders.

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