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[pi-oo-nyuh, -nee-uh, -tyoo-] /pɪˈu nyə, -ni ə, -ˈtyu-/
any garden plant belonging to the genus Petunia, of the nightshade family, native to tropical America, having funnel-shaped flowers of various colors.
a deep, reddish purple.
obsolete French
1815-25; < Neo-Latin < obsolete French petun tobacco < Tupi petyn; see -ia Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for petunias


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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for petunias
1825, from Mod.L. Petunia (1789), from Fr. petun, an obs. word for "tobacco plant," from Port. petum, from Guarani (Paraguay) pety. It has a botanical affinity to the tobacco plant. Pety first recorded (in Ger.) as bittin; it survives as the regular word for tobacco only in Breton butun, but it was in use in Eng. 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, transl. of Nicolás Monardes' "Joyful Newes Oute of the Newe Founde Worlde," 1577]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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