or·chil (ôrkĭl, -chĭl) also ar·chil (är-)
1. Any of several lichens, chiefly of the genus Roccella, from which a dye is obtained.
2. The violet dyestuff obtained from any of these lichens.
[Middle English orchell, ultimately from Old Catalan orxella, from Andalusian dialectal Arabic 'urjālla, of Mozarabic origin, ultimately from Latin ōricilla, a little ear (probably from the resemblance of the lichens to growths on the fetlocks of mules, somewhat resembling little ears ), diminutive of auris, ear; see AURICLE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.