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[pee-uh-nee] /ˈpi ə ni/
noun, plural peonies.
any of various plants or shrubs of the genus Paeonia, having large, showy flowers, as the widely cultivated species P. lactiflora: the state flower of Indiana.
before 1000; Middle English < Late Latin peōnia, Latin paeōnia < Greek paiōnía peony, akin to Paiā́n paean; replacing Middle English pione < Anglo-French < Old French peone < Latin; replacing Old English peonie < Late Latin, Latin, as above Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for peonies
  • My tulips and daffodils in the far corner, my peonies and irises coming up on both sides.
  • peonies have formless nectaries on the floral bracts.
  • Field production of peonies for cut flower production.
  • The base of the gardens was planted with roses and peonies.
  • Other perennials can live for decades, such as peonies.
  • It depicts a garden of bamboo and peonies, populated by animated and colorful birds on a background of golden-bronze.
  • The din ing-room was in pink with peonies nodding in the center of the table.
  • The rooms were bright with peonies and palms, and red roses and red-shaded lights made the dining room attractive.
British Dictionary definitions for peonies


noun (pl) -nies
any of various ranunculaceous shrubs and plants of the genus Paeonia, of Eurasia and North America, having large pink, red, white, or yellow flowers
the flower of any of these plants
Word Origin
Old English peonie, from Latin paeōnia, from Greek paiōnia; related to paiōnios healing, from paiōn physician
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 peonies



a 16c. merger of Middle English pyony (from Old English peonie) and Old North French pione (Modern French pivoine), both from Late Latin peonia, from Latin pæonia, from Greek paionia (fem. of paionios), perhaps from Paion, physician of the gods (or Apollo in this aspect), and so called for the plant's healing qualities. The root, flowers, and seeds formerly were used in medicine.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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