AskDefine | Define glaucous

Dictionary Definition

glaucous adj : having a frosted look from a powdery coating, as on plants; "glaucous stems"; "glaucous plums"; "glaucous grapes"

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin glaucus, from Greek γλαυκος ‘blue-green, blue-grey’.


IPA: /'glɔ:kəs/


  1. of a pale green colour with a bluish-grey tinge, especially when covered with a powdery residue
    • 1955, I realised I was the only shopper in that rather eerie place where I moved about fishlike, in a glaucous aquarium. — Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
    • 1994, inside you could see the wires and cables that ran aft to the rudder and elevators and the cracked and curled and sunblacked leather of the seats and in their tarnished nickel bezels the glass of instrument dials glaucous and clouded from the pumicing of the desert sands. — Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing


  1. a pale green colour with a bluish-grey tinge.

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Extensive Definition

Glaucous (from the Latin glaucous, meaning "bluish-grey or green", from the Greek glaukos) is a botanical term (adjective) used to describe the pale grey or bluish-green appearance of the surfaces of some plants.
The term glaucous is also used botanically to mean "covered with a grayish, bluish, or whitish waxy coating or bloom that is easily rubbed off" (e.g. glaucous leaves).


The epicuticular wax coating on mature plum fruit gives them a glaucous appearance. Another familiar example is found in the common grape genus (Vitis vinifera). Some cacti have a glaucous coating on their stem(s). Glaucous coatings are hydrophobic, prevent wetting by rain, and hinder climbing of leaves, stem or fruit by insects. On fruits, glaucous coatings may function as a deterrent to climbing and feeding by small insects in favor of increased seed dispersal offered by larger animals such as mammals and birds.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Quaker-colored, acier, aestival, alabaster, alabastrine, albescent, ashen, ashy, beryl-green, berylline, blue-green, bluish-green, canescent, chartreuse, chloranemic, chlorine, chlorotic, cinereous, cinerous, citrine, citrinous, cream, creamy, dapple, dapple-gray, dappled, dappled-gray, dingy, dismal, dove-colored, dove-gray, dreary, dull, dun-white, dusty, eggshell, emerald, fair, foliaged, glaucescent, glaucous-green, grassy, gray, gray-black, gray-brown, gray-colored, gray-drab, gray-green, gray-spotted, gray-toned, gray-white, grayed, grayish, green, green as grass, green-blue, greenish, greenish-blue, greenish-yellow, greensick, griseous, grizzle, grizzled, grizzly, holly, iron-gray, ivory, ivory-white, ivy, ivy-green, lead-gray, leaden, leafy, leaved, light, lint-white, livid, mouse-colored, mouse-gray, mousy, off-white, olivaceous, olive, olive-green, pale, pearl, pearl-gray, pearly, pearly-white, porraceous, sad, silver, silver-gray, silvered, silvery, slate-colored, slaty, smaragdine, smoke-gray, smoky, sober, somber, springlike, steel-gray, steely, stone-colored, summerlike, summery, taupe, verdant, verdurous, vernal, vernant, vert, virescent, whitish, whity, yellowish-green
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