noun, plural clo·vers, (especially collectively) clo·ver.
- any of various plants of the genus Trifolium, of the legume family, having trifoliolate leaves and dense flower heads, many species of which, as T. pratense, are cultivated as forage plants.
- any of various plants of allied genera, as melilot.
- in clover, enjoying luxury or comfort; wealthy or well-off: They struggled to make their fortune, and now they’re in clover.
- any plant of the leguminous genus Trifolium, having trifoliate leaves and dense flower heads. Many species, such as red clover, white clover, and alsike, are grown as forage plants
- any of various similar or related plants
- sweet clover another name for melilot
- pin clover another name for alfilaria
- in clover informal in a state of ease or luxury
Old English clafre, clæfre “clover,” from Proto-Germanic *klaibron (cf. Old Saxon kle, Middle Low German klever, Middle Dutch claver, Dutch klaver, Old High German kleo, German Klee “clover”), of uncertain origin.
Klein and Liberman write that it is probably from West Germanic *klaiwaz- “sticky pap” (see clay), and Liberman adds, “The sticky juice of clover was the base of the most popular sort of honey.” First reference in English to the suposed luck of a four-leaf clover is from c.1500. To be in clover “live luxuriously” is 1710, “clover being extremely delicious and fattening to cattle” [Johnson].
Prosperous, living well. For example, After we make our first million, we’ll be in clover. This expression alludes to cattle happily feeding on clover. Slightly different versions are like pigs in clover and rolling in clover. [c. 1700]
see like pigs in clover.