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periwinkle1

[per-i-wing-kuh l] /ˈpɛr ɪˌwɪŋ kəl/
noun
1.
any of various marine gastropods or sea snails, especially Littorina littorea, used for food in Europe.
2.
the shell of any of these animals.
Origin of periwinkle1
1520-1530
1520-30; perhaps reflecting (through assimilation to periwinkle2) Old English pīnewincle, equivalent to pīne (< Latin pīna < Greek pîna, variant of pínna kind of mollusk) + wincle, cognate with dialectal Danish vinkel snail shell

periwinkle2

[per-i-wing-kuh l] /ˈpɛr ɪˌwɪŋ kəl/
noun
1.
Also called myrtle. a trailing plant, Vinca minor, of the dogbane family, having glossy, evergreen foliage and usually blue-violet flowers.
2.
any of several similar plants of the genus Vinca or Catharanthus.
Origin
before 1000; earlier pervinkle, perwinkle, alteration (see -le) of Middle English perwinke, pervinke < Anglo-French pervenke (Old French pervenche) < Late Latin pervinca, Latin vi(n)capervi(n)ca; compare Old English peruince, Middle High German ber(e)winke < Late Latin pervinca
Related forms
periwinkled, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for periwinkle
Historical Examples
  • There was a thick border of periwinkle whose glossy dark green leaves enhanced the brilliancy of the plants beyond.

  • In the heart of periwinkle a new fire was kindled, a new shrine built.

    Pearl and Periwinkle Anna Graetz
  • He could see the salt-and-pepper rocks, shoaling away and knobbed with periwinkle shells.

    Captives of the Flame Samuel R. Delany
  • It was periwinkle's voice however that called him back again.

    Pearl and Periwinkle Anna Graetz
  • "No one but the King of the gulls can change you, my periwinkle," said the merman, kindly.

    Lulu's Library, Volume II Louisa M. Alcott
  • Dark as were his thoughts his blue eyes were as soft as the periwinkle.

    Peter and Wendy James Matthew Barrie
  • Accordingly, without much more resistance, Eustace suffered Primrose and periwinkle to drag him into the drawing-room.

    The Three Golden Apples Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • "You see, I brought her home," said periwinkle to her grandmother, in confidence.

    Duffels Edward Eggleston
  • The periwinkle was once supposed to be a cure for many diseases.

    Flowers and Flower-Gardens David Lester Richardson
  • Amongst the loose stones at the base of the taula the periwinkle was in bloom.

    The Fortunate Isles Mary Stuart Boyd
British Dictionary definitions for periwinkle

periwinkle1

/ˈpɛrɪˌwɪŋkəl/
noun
1.
any of various edible marine gastropods of the genus Littorina, esp L. littorea, having a spirally coiled shell Often shortened to winkle
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin

periwinkle2

/ˈpɛrɪˌwɪŋkəl/
noun
1.
Also called (US) creeping myrtle, trailing myrtle. any of several Eurasian apocynaceous evergreen plants of the genus Vinca, such as V. minor (lesser periwinkle) and V. major (greater periwinkle), having trailing stems and blue flowers
2.
  1. a light purplish-blue colour
  2. (as adjective): a periwinkle coat
Word Origin
C14 pervenke, from Old English perwince, from Late Latin pervinca
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 periwinkle
n.

evergreen plant, c.1500, diminutive of parvink (12c.), from Old English perwince, from Late Latin pervinca "periwinkle" (4c.), from Latin, perhaps from pervincire "to entwine, bind," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + vincire "to bind, fetter" (see wind (v.1)).

kind of sea snail, 1520s, apparently an alteration of Old English pinewincle (probably by influence of Middle English parvink; see periwinkle (n.1)); from Old English pine-, which probably is from Latin pina "mussel," from Greek pine. The second element is wincel "corner; spiral shell," from Proto-Germanic *winkil-, from PIE root *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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