ORIGIN: New Latin, from Latin, small sword, gladiolus, diminutive of gladius sword
1 a capitalized : a genus of plants (family Iridaceae) native chiefly to Africa with a few native to Europe and Asia that have erect sword-shaped leaves and spikes of brilliantly colored irregular flowers arising from flattened corms
b plural gladiolus or gladioli also gladioluses : any plant of the genus Gladiolus
2 plural -es : a strong red that is bluer and paler than Goya, bluer than average cherry red, and bluer and darker than geranium
3 plural gladioli : the large middle portion of the sternum lying between the upper manubrium and the lower xiphoid process – called also mesosternum
SENTENCE: To sum up this post, the word gladiolus may refer to either a genus of plants, any plant in that genus, a red color, or a body part.
NOTE: This was the winning word of the very first National Spelling Bee, which was won by Frank Neuhauser.