One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A herbaceous plant of north temperate regions, typically with upright stems bearing narrow pointed leaves and spikes of blue or purple flowers.
Genus Veronica, family Scrophulariaceae: many species, including the speedwells
- ‘The 7-inch, dark blue spikes of this veronica bob atop a plant that grows low enough that you can actually place it at the front of the border.’
- ‘On the inside of the curve, I wove in irregular lines of flowers like Verbena ‘Purple Homestead,’ aster and veronica.’
- ‘Meanwhile, established perennials like phlox, veronica, and yarrow are beginning to bloom.’
2A cloth supposedly impressed with an image of Jesus' face.
- ‘The veronica represents Christ's face and, by synecdoche, his entire body.’
3(in bullfighting) a slow movement of the cape away from a charging bull by the matador, who stands in place.
Early 16th century: from medieval Latin, from the given name Veronica. veronica (sense 2, are with reference to St Veronica (see Veronica, St); sense 3 is said to be by association of the attitude of the matador with the depiction of St Veronica holding out a cloth to Christ.
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