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gillyflower

[jil-ee-flou-er] /ˈdʒɪl iˌflaʊ ər/
noun
1.
Archaic. any of several fragrant flowers of the genus Dianthus, as the carnation or clove pink.
2.
any of various other usually fragrant flowers, especially a stock, Matthiola incana, of the mustard family.
Also, gilliflower.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; alteration (by association with flower) of Middle English gilofre, geraflour < Old French gilofre, girofle < Latin caryophyllum < Greek karyóphyllon clove (káryo(n) nut + phýllon leaf)
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for gillyflower

gillyflower

/ˈdʒɪlɪˌflaʊə/
noun
1.
any of several plants having fragrant flowers, such as the stock and wallflower
2.
an archaic name for carnation
Word Origin
C14: changed (through influence of flower) from gilofre, from Old French girofle, from Medieval Latin, from Greek karuophullon clove tree, from karuon nut + phullon leaf
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for gillyflower
n.

1550s, folk etymology spelling (by association of flower) of gilofre, originally "clove," c.1300, from Old French girofle "clove," ultimately from Greek karyophyllon "clove, nut leaf, dried flower bud of clove tree," from karyon "nut" (see karyo-) + phyllon "leaf" (see folio). The flower so named for its scent, so called from late 14c.

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

any of several scented flowering plants, especially the carnation, or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), stock (Matthiola incana), and wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri). However, the gillyflower of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare was the carnation. Other plants that are types of gillyflower are dame's gillyflower, also known as dame's violet (Hesperis matronalis); mock gillyflower, also known as soapwort or bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis); feathered gillyflower, also known as the grass or garden pink (Dianthus plumarius); and sea gillyflower, also known as the thrift or sea pink (Armeria maritima).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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