noun, plural glad·i·o·lus, glad·i·o·li [glad-ee-oh-lahy] /ˌglæd iˈoʊ laɪ/, glad·i·o·lus·es for 1; glad·i·o·li for 2.

  1. any plant of the genus Gladiolus, of the iris family, native especially to Africa, having erect, sword-shaped leaves and spikes of flowers in a variety of colors.
  2. Anatomy. the middle and largest segment of the sternum.Compare manubrium(def 2a), xiphisternum.

noun plural -lus, -li (-laɪ) or -luses

  1. Also called: sword lily, gladiola any iridaceous plant of the widely cultivated genus Gladiolus, having sword-shaped leaves and spikes of funnel-shaped brightly coloured flowers
  2. anatomy the large central part of the breastbone

c.1000, from Latin gladiolus “wild iris,” literally “small sword,” diminutive of gladius “sword” (see gladiator); so called by Pliny in reference to the plant’s sword-shaped leaves. The Old English form of the word was gladdon. Form gladiol is attested mid-15c.; the modern use perhaps represents a 1560s reborrowing from Latin.

n. pl. glad•i•o•lus•es

  1. The large middle section of the sternum.

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