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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for peony
  • They do not stimulate peony bud opening, but possibly do have a role in pollination.
  • His idea of color was a peony, with the dew of early morning on its petals.
  • They use fans painted with pink peony blossoms and display a show of dance.
  • Ants are attracted to the sweet nectar produced by the peony.
  • They'll also eat begonia, lilac, peony and strawberry plants.
British Dictionary definitions for peony


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 peony

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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