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scarlet pimpernel

noun
1.
See under pimpernel.
Origin of scarlet pimpernel
1850-1855
1850-55

pimpernel

[pim-per-nel, -nl] /ˈpɪm pərˌnɛl, -nl/
noun
1.
a plant belonging to the genus Anagallis, of the primrose family, especially A. arvensis (scarlet pimpernel) having scarlet or white flowers that close at the approach of bad weather.
Origin
1400-50; late Middle English pympernele < Middle French pimprenelle, nasalized variant of Old French piprenelle < Late Latin *piperīnella, equivalent to piper pepper + -īn- -ine1 + -ella diminutive suffix; replacing Old English pipeneale < Late Latin pipīnella, syncopated variant of *piperīnella
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for scarlet-pimpernel

pimpernel

/ˈpɪmpəˌnɛl; -nəl/
noun
1.
any of several plants of the primulaceous genus Anagallis, such as the scarlet pimpernel, typically having small star-shaped flowers
2.
any of several similar and related plants, such as Lysimachia nemorum (yellow pimpernel)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French pimpernelle, ultimately from Latin piperpepper; compare Old English pipeneale

scarlet pimpernel

noun
1.
a weedy primulaceous plant, Anagallis arvensis, of temperate regions, having small red, purple, or white star-shaped flowers that close in bad weather Also called poor man's weatherglass, shepherd's weatherglass
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 scarlet-pimpernel

pimpernel

n.

c.1400, from Old French pimprenelle, earlier piprenelle (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin pipinella name of a medicinal plant. This is perhaps from *piperinus "pepper-like" (so called because its fruits resemble peppercorns), a derivative of Latin piper "pepper" (see pepper (n.)); or else it is a corruption of bipinnella, from bipennis "two-winged." The Scarlet Pimpernel was the code name of the hero in an adventure novel of that name published 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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9
11
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