One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A cultivated variety of viola with brightly coloured flowers.
- ‘Try bulbs, wallflowers and pansies in spring, summer bedding for the hotter months, autumn and winter interest from chrysanthemums and foliage plants.’
- ‘Houseproud John and Maggie Briggs filled the wrought-iron hayracks with trailing geraniums, busy Lizzies, wild cornflowers, lobelia and pansies.’
- ‘I plant pansies and violas, too, for color now and again in spring.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
2informal, offensive An effeminate or homosexual man.
3South African A sand dollar with a flower-like purple marking on the shell.
- ‘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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