• WordNet 3.6
    • n calamus the hollow spine of a feather
    • n Calamus a genus of Sparidae
    • n calamus perennial marsh plant having swordlike leaves and aromatic roots
    • n calamus the aromatic root of the sweet flag used medicinally
    • n calamus any tropical Asian palm of the genus Calamus; light tough stems are a source of rattan canes
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Calamus (Bot) A species of Acorus Acorus calamus), commonly called calamus, or sweet flag. The root has a pungent, aromatic taste, and is used in medicine as a stomachic; the leaves have an aromatic odor, and were formerly used instead of rushes to strew on floors.
    • Calamus (Zoöl) The horny basal portion of a feather; the barrel or quill.
    • Calamus (Bot) The indian cane, a plant of the Palm family. It furnishes the common rattan. See Rattan, and Dragon's blood.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n calamus A reed; cane.
    • n calamus A kind of fragrant plant mentioned in the Bible (Ex. xxx. 23, etc.), and supposed to be the sweet-flag, Acorus Calamus, or the fragrant lemon-grass of India, Andropogon Schœnanthus; the sweet-flag.
    • n calamus [capitalized] A very large genus of slender, leafy, climbing palms, natives chiefly of eastern Asia and the adjacent islands. Their leaves are armed with strong reversed thorns, by means of which they often climb the loftiest trees. The sheathing leaves cover the entire stem, and when removed leave a slender-jointed polished cane, in some species reaching 200 feet in length. These are extensively used in bridge-making, for the ropes and cables of vessels, and, when split, for a great variety of purposes. They form the ratan-canes of commerce, used in large quantities for the caning of chairs, etc. One of the larger species, C. Scipionum, furnishes the Malacca canes used for walking-sticks. The fruits of C. Draco yield the red resin known in commerce as dragon's-blood.
    • n calamus A tube, usually of gold or silver, through which it was customary in the ancient church to receive the wine in communicating. The adoption of the calamus doubtless arose from caution, lest any drop from the chalice should be spilled, or any other irreverence occur. It has fallen into disuse, except that it is still retained in the Roman Catholic Church in solemn papal celebrations, for the communion of the Pope. It is also known by the names canna, pugillaris, and fistula.
    • n calamus In music, a flute or pipe made of reed.
    • n calamus In ornithology, the hard, horny, hollow, and more or less transparent part of the stem or scape of a feather; the barrel, tube, or quill proper, which bears no vexilla, and extends from the end of the feather inserted in the skin to the beginning of the rachis where the web or vane commences. See cut under aftershaft.
    • n calamus An ancient Greek measure of length of 10 feet.
    • n calamus [capitalized] A genus of fishes, the porgies, belonging to the family Sparidæ. The group is characterized by the great development of the interhemal bone at the base of the anal spines. This is greatly enlarged and quill-shaped, its open end receiving the posterior end of the large air-bladder. To this structure the Spanish name pez de pluma (quill-fish) and the name Calamus refer. The species are all confined to tropical America and are all esteemed as food.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Calamus kal′a-mus the traditional name of the sweet flag, which is no doubt the Calamus aromaticus of Roman authors, and probably the sweet calamus and sweet cane of Scripture, but not the fragrant lemon-grass of India: a genus of palms whose stems make canes or rattans: the reed pen used by the ancients in writing.
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L., a reed. See Halm
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary


In literature:

This day the calamus was often seen in quantity.
"Personal Memoirs Of A Residence Of Thirty Years With The Indian Tribes On The American Frontiers" by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft
It is found in the dense brushes along with three other palms, Seaforthia, Corypha, and Calamus.
"Narrative Of The Voyage Of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By The Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During The Years 1846-1850. Including Discoveries And Surveys In New Guinea, The Louisiade Archipelago, Etc. To Which Is Added The Account Of Mr. E.B. Kennedy's Expedition For The Exploration Of The Cape York Peninsula. By John Macgillivray, F.R.G.S. Naturalist To The Expedition. In Two Volumes. Volume 1." by John MacGillivray
The most remarkable are the ratans, belonging to the Calamus genus of palms.
"Ceylon; an Account of the Island Physical, Historical, and Topographical with Notices of Its Natural History, Antiquities and Productions, Volume 1 (of 2)" by James Emerson Tennent
In order to settle the question as to the precise significance of "Calamus," J.A.
"Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 2 (of 6)" by Havelock Ellis
Said she went and ate a piece of calamus root for the pain and after eating the root for the pain behold I was born.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews with Former Slaves: Volume II, Arkansas Narratives, Part 2" by Work Projects Administration
In one een' dey wuz a piece er calamus-root en some collard-seeds, en in de t'er een' dey wuz a great big rabbit foot.
"Nights With Uncle Remus" by Joel Chandler Harris
Calamus and liquorice were among them, and camphor, too.
"The Continental Monthly, Vol. 6, No. 6, December 1864" by Various
Calamus tribus digitis continetur, totum corpus laborat.
"The Care of Books" by John Willis Clark
In one een' dey wuz a piece er calamus-root en some collard-seeds, en in de t'er een' dey wuz a great big rabbit foot.
"Nights With Uncle Remus" by Joel Chandler Harris
I done laid in some calamus root, en I ain't gwineter take no skuse,' sez Brer Fox, sezee.
"Southern Literature From 1579-1895" by Louise Manly

In news:

Calamus Lake Recreation Area is located 7 miles Northwest of Burwell, Nebraska on Hwy 96.
Dr West is co-inventor of ProTaper and Calamus Technologies.
The operations, near Calamus Reservoir in central Nebraska, a popular recreation area, independently sold conservation easements.
Channel Cat battle at Calamus.
I went out early in the morning with my cousin to try to catch some fish at the Calamus Reservoir near Burwell, NE.