One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An Old World plant with flat five-petaled, typically bluish flowers and glossy leaves. Some kinds are grown as ornamentals and some contain alkaloids used in medicine.
Genera Vinca and Catharanthus, family Apocynaceae
- ‘I found periwinkles and primroses in full flower, bluebells, just coming along nicely thank you, grape hyacinths, and polyanthus.’
- ‘We crept close to a house, knelt into monkey grass or button weed or periwinkle, and looked through the lighted windows.’
- ‘Like Mexican heather, periwinkles are tender.’
- ‘You can even plant periwinkle, bugle and ground ivy in the gaps in your log or rock pile - this could make a fun project for an older child.’
- ‘At the base of a tree, for example, you might have better luck with wood chips or shade-loving ornamental plants like ivy, periwinkle, or pachysandra.’
- ‘The corolla of the normal periwinkle flower is salver-shaped and the stamens are located in the throat of the corolla tube.’
- ‘I painted cream-colored ivy and periwinkle flowers on the Lincoln green wood.’
- ‘We make our way carefully through the periwinkle, a little wild patch of lilies of the valley, and some vicious canes of blackberry.’
- 1.1 A purple-blue color like that of a periwinkle flower.‘the sky was a clear periwinkle and the sun sparkled like a shiny jewel’as modifier ‘Anne was wearing a periwinkle evening gown with small puffed sleeves’
- ‘His models wore white pan stick, triangular crimped wigs and periwinkle boots.’
- ‘She bent to retrieve the periwinkle colored ribbon neatly folded on the floor.’
- ‘It's a light purple, almost a periwinkle, sleeveless, and with little diamonds all over.’
- ‘The style is available in sizes M-2XL in brick, plum, periwinkle, lime, denim, pine, and orange.’
- ‘She started by choosing light and midtone shades of the same four colors - periwinkle, yellow, green, and peachy white.’
- ‘The basic color scheme is a soft buttery yellow for the cabinets, with periwinkle blue on the cabinet handles.’
- ‘Periwinkle eye shadow was dusted across her eyelids.’
- ‘Rubbing at her tired eyes, she looked outside, seeing the ethereal colors of dawn, the light purples, periwinkle blues mixing together.’
- ‘She painted the oven doors periwinkle blue then touched up knobs and dials in a bright orange enamel paint.’
- ‘Rather than removing the fence, or disguising it with vines or shrubs, the owners had it painted periwinkle blue.’
Late Old English peruince, from late Latin pervinca, reinforced in Middle English by Anglo-Norman French pervenke. The change of -v- to -w- and the addition of -le seem to have occurred before the appearance of periwinkle.
- another term for winkle
- ‘The fish in this dish consists of whatever the fishermen caught earlier that morning - usually prawns, mussels, periwinkles, cod and sometimes octopus.’
- ‘Here the interior is inlaid with millions of beautiful shells, scallops, paloudres, clams, periwinkles, mussels, oysters and rogans.’
- ‘In Galway Bay, Ireland, a live limpet or periwinkle used to be placed at the corners of the house to ensure successful fishing.’
- ‘Crabs are a particular favourite of mine - shore crabs are numerous, and every other periwinkle shell seems to harbour a hermit crab.’
- ‘In 1881, a thunderstorm in Worcester brought down tons of periwinkles and hermit crabs.’
Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.
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