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
- ‘We make our way carefully through the periwinkle, a little wild patch of lilies of the valley, and some vicious canes of blackberry.’
- ‘I painted cream-colored ivy and periwinkle flowers on the Lincoln green wood.’
- ‘Like Mexican heather, periwinkles are tender.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘We crept close to a house, knelt into monkey grass or button weed or periwinkle, and looked through the lighted windows.’
- ‘The corolla of the normal periwinkle flower is salver-shaped and the stamens are located in the throat of the corolla tube.’
- ‘I found periwinkles and primroses in full flower, bluebells, just coming along nicely thank you, grape hyacinths, and polyanthus.’
- 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’
- ‘Rubbing at her tired eyes, she looked outside, seeing the ethereal colors of dawn, the light purples, periwinkle blues mixing together.’
- ‘It's a light purple, almost a periwinkle, sleeveless, and with little diamonds all over.’
- ‘She started by choosing light and midtone shades of the same four colors - periwinkle, yellow, green, and peachy white.’
- ‘The style is available in sizes M-2XL in brick, plum, periwinkle, lime, denim, pine, and orange.’
- ‘She bent to retrieve the periwinkle colored ribbon neatly folded on the floor.’
- ‘His models wore white pan stick, triangular crimped wigs and periwinkle boots.’
- ‘Rather than removing the fence, or disguising it with vines or shrubs, the owners had it painted periwinkle blue.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘She painted the oven doors periwinkle blue then touched up knobs and dials in a bright orange enamel paint.’
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
- ‘In 1881, a thunderstorm in Worcester brought down tons of periwinkles and hermit crabs.’
- ‘Here the interior is inlaid with millions of beautiful shells, scallops, paloudres, clams, periwinkles, mussels, oysters and rogans.’
- ‘The fish in this dish consists of whatever the fishermen caught earlier that morning - usually prawns, mussels, periwinkles, cod and sometimes octopus.’
- ‘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.’
Mid 16th century: of unknown origin.
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