heliotrope

[hee-lee-uh-trohp, heel-yuh- or, esp. British, hel-yuh-]
noun
1.
any hairy plant belonging to the genus Heliotropium, of the borage family, as H. arborescens, cultivated for its small, fragrant purple flowers.
2.
any of various other plants, as the valerian or the winter heliotrope.
3.
any plant that turns toward the sun.
4.
a light tint of purple; reddish lavender.
5.
Surveying. an arrangement of mirrors for reflecting sunlight from a distant point to an observation station.

Origin:
1580–90; < Middle French héliotrope < Latin hēliotropium < Greek hēliotrópion (see helio-, -trope); compare Middle English elitropium, elitropius, Old English eliotropus < Medieval Latin

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Collins
World English Dictionary
heliotrope (ˈhiːlɪəˌtrəʊp, ˈhɛljə-)
 
n
1.  any boraginaceous plant of the genus Heliotropium, esp the South American H. arborescens, cultivated for its small fragrant purple flowers
2.  garden heliotrope a widely cultivated valerian, Valeriana officinalis, with clusters of small pink, purple, or white flowers
3.  any of various plants that turn towards the sun
4.  a.  a bluish-violet to purple colour
 b.  (as adjective): a heliotrope dress
5.  an instrument used in geodetic surveying employing the sun's rays reflected by a mirror as a signal for the sighting of stations over long distances
6.  another name for bloodstone
 
[C17: from Latin hēliotropium, from Greek hēliotropion, from hēlios sun + trepein to turn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

heliotrope
"plant which turns its flowers and leaves to the sun," c.1626, from Fr. heliotrope, from L. heliotropium, from Gk. heliotropion, from helios "sun" (see sol) + tropos "turn" (see trope). The word was applied c.1000-1600 in L. form to sunflowers and marigolds.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The deep purple flowers of heliotrope fill the air with a vanilla scent.
The telescope allowed the operator to sight on the distant survey mark and ensure that the heliotrope was aimed correctly.
Several species of phacelia, or wild-heliotrope, add to the monument's flower show.
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