One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A small, typically evergreen Eurasian shrub with sweet-scented flowers.
Genus Daphne, family Thymelaeaceae: several species
- ‘Camellias and sweet-smelling daphnes and jasmines often bloom in February in the south.’
- ‘In front of the large shrubs are winter-blooming daphne and hellebores, ferns, ‘Pia’ dwarf hydrangeas, and a red laceleaf Japanese maple.’
- ‘The aim of the expedition was to look at rhododendrons in the wild and collect seed of daphne bholoua.’
- ‘Everyone covets winter daphne for its swooningly sweet pink flowers.’
- ‘Winter daphne blooms in clusters of highly fragrant, light purple flowers in late winter or spring.’
- ‘In March and April alone, daphne, forsythia, camellias, Japanese quince and lilacs continue in bloom.’
Late Middle English (denoting the laurel or bay tree): from Greek daphnē, from the name of the nymph Daphne.
proper nounGreek Mythology
A nymph who was turned into a laurel bush to save her from the amorous pursuit of Apollo.
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