1. (Science: botany) A bulbous iridaceous plant (crocus sativus) having blue flowers with large yellow stigmas. See Crocus.
2. The aromatic, pungent, dried stigmas, usually with part of the stile, of the crocus sativus. Saffron is used in cookery, and in colouring confectionery, liquors, varnishes, etc, and was formerly much used in medicine.
3. An orange or deep yellow colour, like that of the stigmas of the crocus sativus. Bastard saffron, Dyer's saffron.
(Science: botany) Also, the tree itself. Saffron yellow, a shade of yellow like that obtained from the stigmas of the true saffron (crocus sativus).
Origin: OE. Saffran, F. Safran; cf. It. Zafferano, Sp. Azafran, Pg. Acafr<atil/o; all fr. Ar. & Per. Za' faran.