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petunia

[pi-oo-nyuh, -nee-uh, -tyoo-] /pɪˈu nyə, -ni ə, -ˈtyu-/
noun
1.
any garden plant belonging to the genus Petunia, of the nightshade family, native to tropical America, having funnel-shaped flowers of various colors.
2.
a deep, reddish purple.
Origin
obsolete French
1815-1825
1815-25; < Neo-Latin < obsolete French petun tobacco < Tupi petyn; see -ia
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for petunia
  • The new petunia is derived from a purple variety in which the gene producing the purple pigment has been turned off.
  • In the packing carton were three small begonias plus some petunia seedlings.
British Dictionary definitions for petunia

petunia

/pɪˈtjuːnɪə/
noun
1.
any solanaceous plant of the tropical American genus Petunia: cultivated for their white, pink, blue, or purple funnel-shaped flowers
Word Origin
C19: via New Latin from obsolete French petun variety of tobacco, from Tupi petyn
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 petunia
n.

1825, from Modern Latin Petunia (1789), from French petun (16c.), an obsolete word for "tobacco plant," from Portuguese petum, from Guarani (Paraguay) pety. It has a botanical affinity to the tobacco plant. The word first is recorded (in German) as bittin; it survives as the regular word for tobacco only in Breton butun, but it was in use in English in 17c.

Many haue giuen it the name, Petum, whiche is in deede the proper name of the Hearbe, as they whiche haue traueiled that countrey can tell. [John Frampton, translation of Nicolás Monardes' "Joyful Newes Oute of the Newe Founde Worlde," 1577]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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