Definition of primrose in US English:



  • 1A commonly cultivated plant of European woodlands that produces pale yellow flowers in the early spring.

    Primula vulgaris, family Primulaceae (the primrose family). This family also includes the cowslips, pimpernels, and cyclamens

    • ‘Most gardeners know - and grow - primroses and polyanthus.’
    • ‘Around this time of year, there is a good show of daffodils, tulips, primroses, primula, helibores orientalis and other spring flowers.’
    • ‘More than half the top 20 plants were spring flowers, including primroses, wild narcissi and lime-green euphorbias.’
    • ‘October is a great time to plant trees and shrubs as well as winter and spring flowering plants such as pansies, primroses and wall flowers.’
    • ‘Geraniums, pansies, petunias, primroses and snapdragons could provide shades of red late fall through spring.’
    • ‘Cluster them with snapdragons, primroses, forget-me-nots and alyssum in mixed beds or in containers.’
    • ‘A natural glen is planted with an assortment of shade-loving plants, including hellebores, ferns, fucshias, azaleas and primroses.’
    • ‘Spring flowers - celandines, primroses, violets, wood anemones - were followed by pyramid and early purple orchids, wild thyme and rockrose.’
    • ‘Can you suggest anybody who sells wild flower seeds and/or plants such as poppies, primroses, large - flowered daisies and so on?’
    • ‘Auricula primroses are very different from the Candelabra and Polyanthus primroses.’
    • ‘The Cowslip Count took place in the spring of 2000 and we received data on over 2,000 places around the UK where cowslips, primroses and false oxlips are growing.’
    • ‘Interplant pink ranunculus with salmon Iceland poppy and red-purple pansies, and accent with a few yellow and pink English primroses.’
    • ‘I'm going to paint among the wild flowers of oak woods - primroses, bluebells, anemones and wild garlic, above an estuary as the tide ebbs and flows.’
    • ‘You can keep your container current with seasonal themes by growing a succession of plants, such as bulbs and primroses in the spring, annuals and vegetables in the summer, and colorful kale and pansies in autumn.’
    • ‘If you like spring flowers then there are primroses, coltsfoot, dogs mercury, wood sorrel and many other species.’
    • ‘Pale yellow primroses are also a favourite plant in our garden, but there are hundred of others to choose from with colours to suit every taste.’
    • ‘Everything in this country - daffodils, primroses, almond trees, bumblebees, nesting birds - is a month ahead of schedule.’
    • ‘There is nothing more showy in a spring garden than Polyanthus primroses.’
    • ‘Winter standby - calendulas, cyclamens, pansies, violas, primroses, stock and snapdragons - plus some of the hardy groundcovers, can be planted.’
    • ‘In kinder climates such as hers, she says, pulmonarias, cyclamen, and primroses bloom early enough to pair nicely.’
    1. 1.1 A pale yellow color.
      • ‘Glynn popped up to knock one over with three minutes remaining, despite heroic defending by the men in primrose and blue.’
      • ‘At the door stood a tall, slender woman with primrose skin and curly white hair.’
      • ‘He knew they didn't bite and that they would turn into the butterflies which fluttered, pale blue, primrose, blood red and black, through his secret grassland kingdom.’
      • ‘If you walk around the historic districts of Willemstad - Punda, Otrabanda, Scharloo and Pietermaai - you'll spot every hue from ochre or primrose yellow to baby blue and candyfloss pink.’
      • ‘Sunset had mantled the horizon with primrose, so that the evening sky blended with the garden, but there was still enough light to show him he wasn't the only one to flee the massed family.’
      • ‘Long threads of primrose yellow stuck to the back of my moist neck, my hair thick, lengthy, down around my shoulders.’
      • ‘It produces large trumpet, ivory white flowers which open a lovely pale primrose yellow, fading gradually to pure white.’
      • ‘‘The colour is primrose yellow and national guidelines state that this or cream must be used for yellow lines in all conservation areas,’ a council spokeswoman reveals.’
      • ‘All rooms share the simple, contemporary look: dark-wood furniture and bare-board floors, primrose sheets and duvets, with black-and-white prints of the relevant winery.’
      • ‘Paint colours on unadorned pine furniture are rationed to misty greys, blues, creams and primrose yellow.’
      • ‘While the fish are vivid and flamboyant, the corals are soft pastel shades: ivory and primrose, lavender and peach.’
      • ‘Colours of perfect lilac, primrose, pink and scarlet blended in a composition of sweet perfection and invited a soul of spirit and appreciation to compose an aria to its enchanting magnetism.’
      • ‘Next to the wedding dress were found identical dresses in primrose yellow, trimmed with orange lace.’
      • ‘From delicate primrose yellow in the entrance lobby to changing colour washes in bedrooms, the place glows with colour.’
      • ‘The walls were painted with a water-based powder distemper, usually in grass green or primrose colour.’
      • ‘Thousands of primrose and blue jerseys were sold this summer throughout the county.’
      • ‘I noted that Captain Haddock's shirt contained some primrose yellow within its subtle pinstripe pattern; a colour that is very in at the moment, handsomely complemented by his olive green ‘safari’ waistcoat.’
      • ‘‘Gay Mitchell's gone green,’ came another observation, highlighting the printing bungle which has turned the Fine Gael deputy's face a luscious shade of avocado with primrose yellow undertones.’
      • ‘Made of panels of glass held by Dorma shower hinges, the screen conceals yellow fluorescents so that it emits a brilliant glow and casts primrose light over the adjacent ceiling.’
      • ‘I chose the former and was instantaneously rewarded by a turquoise door, numbered 26a in white, painted primrose yellow (for I knew it) on the inside, being opened in my face.’


  • primrose path

    • The pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences.

      ‘unaware of his doom, he continued down his primrose path’
      • ‘In the one glass, alcohol can stimulate the mind or lend courage to the meek; in the other, it is a primrose path to perdition.’
      • ‘We can no longer be taken backwards so much that we cannot see when we are being led down a primrose path.’
      • ‘The populace wanting a reprieve from ‘the necessities of their condition,’ he wrote, had been led down the primrose path by a mirage of well-being to which ideological conjurers had made them feel entitled.’
      • ‘This game has been going on a long time, and better men than you or me have been led down the primrose path.’
      • ‘But pretending the budget doesn't matter is the primrose path to high taxes and poor services.’
      • ‘‘As much as I admire our top clients, if I'm not doing anything but listening to their opinions, I'm going to be led down the primrose path,’ Dexheimer says.’
      • ‘They chose the primrose path; when they found it was not all primroses, but some of it brambly, and much of it uphill, they began to think and to speak of themselves as holy martyrs.’
      • ‘It is often the hard taskmaster who alone succeeds in instilling mistrust of primrose paths.’
      • ‘Thank you for showing us the fallacy of the primrose path of safety before the stakes get too high.’
      • ‘It taps into discontent with the wealthy and powerful and the status quo, giving a taste of social critique, but gradually leads the viewer down the primrose path of acceptance and ultimate acquiescence.’


Late Middle English: compare with Old French primerose and medieval Latin prima rosa, literally ‘first rose’.