One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A cultivated variety of viola with brightly coloured flowers.
Genus Viola, family Violaceae: several species and hybrids, in particular V. × wittrockiana
- ‘Superb instant effects can be achieved by using semi-advanced seedlings of annual flowers such as lobelia, marigolds, pansies and primulas, which are all low-growing and suitable for containers.’
- ‘Seed catalogues can usually be relied upon to indicate which pansies and violas are good for most if not all the winters we are likely to experience.’
- ‘I plant pansies and violas, too, for color now and again in spring.’
- ‘Houseproud John and Maggie Briggs filled the wrought-iron hayracks with trailing geraniums, busy Lizzies, wild cornflowers, lobelia and pansies.’
- ‘Try bulbs, wallflowers and pansies in spring, summer bedding for the hotter months, autumn and winter interest from chrysanthemums and foliage plants.’
2offensive, informal An effeminate or homosexual man.
3South African A sand dollar with a purple marking on the shell that resembles a flower.
Echinodiscus bisperforatus, class Echinoidea
- ‘GnRH immunoreactivity has also been identified in two anthozoan species: the sea pansy, Renilla koellikeri, and the sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis.’
- ‘The unusual ‘sea pansy,’ Renilla, has a primary polyp that is broad and flattened, with autozooids and siphonozooids on the upper surface.’
- ‘In the sea pansy, Renilla koellikeri, serotonin can stimulate rhythmic muscular contraction and spawning, and melatonin can inhibit these contractions.’
Late Middle English: from French pensée ‘thought, pansy’, from penser ‘think’, from Latin pensare, frequentative of pendere ‘weigh, consider’.
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