Word of the Day


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a tall yellow flower with a centre shaped like a cup that grows in spring

Origin and usage

The origin of the word daffodil is slightly mysterious. It came into English in the mid 16th century in the form of the Middle English ‘affodill’, which came from the medieval Latin ‘affodilus’, which is itself a variant of Latin ‘asphodilus’. Where the initial ‘d’ came from, however, nobody knows.


Daffodils are spring-flowering plants that grow from bulbs and form part of the narcissus genus. They have  been known since ancient times and grow wild in the meadows and woods of north Africa and southern and western Europe. Hugely popular in gardens, daffodils take many forms, short and tall, and in colours ranging from white through yellow to orange, and even pink, although most are yellow. The daffodils that caused Wordsworth such delight when he saw them growing on the shore of Ullswater in the Lake District were the small, delicate native variety Narcissus pseudonarcissus, rather than the taller, showier cultivated varieties that grow in most parks and gardens today.


“And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.”
(William Wordsworth)

Related words

amaryllis, hyacinth, narcissus, snowdrop

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

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Macmillan Dictionary

Macmillan Dictionary

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