Definition of pimpernel in English:



  • A small European plant of the primrose family, with creeping stems and flat five-petalled flowers.

    • ‘A rich diversity of plants thrive in the wet conditions at Greena Moor including bog pimpernel, marsh violet, saw-wort and abundant meadow thistle and devil's-bit scabious.’
    • ‘As well as being a home to wildlife, it also has pockets of enchanted nightshade, yellow pimpernel and oak fern.’
    • ‘Primroses grew in the grass around it and a small red flower that I thought must be pimpernel.’


Late Middle English (denoting the great burnet and the salad burnet): from Old French pimpernelle, based on Latin piper pepper (because of the resemblance of the burnet's fruit to a peppercorn).