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columbine1

[kol-uh m-bahyn] /ˈkɒl əmˌbaɪn/
noun
1.
a plant, Aquilegia caerula, of the buttercup family, having showy flowers with white petals and white to blue sepals that form long, backward spurs: the state flower of Colorado.
2.
any of various other plants of the genus Aquilegia, characterized by divided leaves and showy flowers of various colors.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English < Medieval Latin columbīna (herba) dovelike (plant), feminine of Latin columbīnus (see columbine2); the inverted flower looks like a group of doves

columbine2

[kol-uh m-bahyn, -bin] /ˈkɒl əmˌbaɪn, -bɪn/
adjective
1.
of a dove.
2.
dovelike; dove-colored.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English < Latin columbīnus, equivalent to columb(a) dove + -īnus -ine1

Columbine

[kol-uh m-bahyn] /ˈkɒl əmˌbaɪn/
noun
1.
a female character in commedia dell'arte and pantomime: sweetheart of Harlequin.
2.
a female given name.
Origin
1720-30; < Italian Columbina literally, dovelike girl; see columbine2
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for columbine

columbine1

/ˈkɒləmˌbaɪn/
noun
1.
any plant of the ranunculaceous genus Aquilegia, having purple, blue, yellow, or red flowers with five spurred petals Also called aquilegia
Word Origin
C13: from Medieval Latin columbīna herba dovelike plant, from Latin columbīnus dovelike, from the resemblance of the flower to a group of doves

columbine2

/ˈkɒləmˌbaɪn/
adjective
1.
of, relating to, or resembling a dove
Word Origin
C14: from Old French colombin, from Latin columbīnus dovelike, from columba dove

Columbine

/ˈkɒləmˌbaɪn/
noun
1.
(originally) the character of a servant girl in commedia dell'arte
2.
(later) the sweetheart of Harlequin in English pantomime
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for columbine
n.

c.1300, from Old French columbine "columbine," or directly from Medieval Latin columbina, from Late Latin columbina "verbena," fem. of Latin columbinus, literally "dove-like," from columba "dove." The inverted flower supposedly resembles a cluster of five doves. Also a fem. proper name; in Italian comedy, the name of the mistress of Harlequin.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for columbine

Columbine

stock theatrical character that originated about 1530 in Italian commedia dell'arte as a saucy and adroit servant girl; her Italian name means "Little Dove." Her costume included a cap and apron but seldom a commedia mask, and she usually spoke in the Tuscan dialect. In French theatre the character became a lady's maid and intrigant and assumed a variety of roles opposite Cassandre, Pantalone (Pantaloon), Harlequin, and Pierrot. In English comedies she was usually the daughter or ward of Pantaloon and in love with Harlequin. The soubrette of the 20th-century musical comedy is a version of the Columbine character

Learn more about Columbine with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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