wall-flower

wallflower

[wawl-flou-er]
noun
1.
a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.
2.
any person, organization, etc., that remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of any activity: The firm was a wallflower in this year's bidding for government contracts.
3.
a European plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of the mustard family, that, when growing wild on walls, cliffs, etc., has sweet-scented, usually yellow or orange flowers, but when cultivated has flowers varying in color from pale yellow to brown-red or purple.
4.
any of several related plants of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum.

Origin:
1570–80; wall + flower

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
wallflower (ˈwɔːlˌflaʊə)
 
n
1.  Also called: gillyflower a plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of S Europe, grown for its clusters of yellow, orange, brown, red, or purple fragrant flowers and naturalized on old walls, cliffs, etc: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
2.  any of numerous other crucifers of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum, having orange or yellow flowers
3.  informal a person who stays on the fringes of a dance or party on account of lacking a partner or being shy

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

wallflower
1578, "flowering plant cultivated in gardens," from wall + flower (n.). Colloquial sense of "woman who sits by the wall at parties, often for want of a partner" is first recorded 1820.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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