he·​lio·​trope | \ ˈhē-lē-ə-ˌtrōp How to pronounce heliotrope (audio) , ˈhēl-yə-, British also ˈhel-yə- \

Definition of heliotrope

1 : any of a genus (Heliotropium) of herbs or shrubs of the borage family — compare garden heliotrope
3 : a variable color averaging a moderate to reddish purple

Illustration of heliotrope

Illustration of heliotrope

heliotrope 1

Did you know?

Helios was the god of the sun in Greek mythology, and helio- came to appear in a number of sun-related English words. The genus known as the heliotropes consists of about 250 species; many are thought of as weeds, but the best-known species, garden heliotrope, is a popular and fragrant perennial that resembles the forget-me-not. The heliotrope tends to follow the sun—that is, turn its blossoms toward the sun as it travels from East to West every day. But the fact is, heliotropism—turning toward the sun—is common among flowers (and even leaves), and some, like the sunflower, are more dramatically heliotropic than the heliotrope. Those in the far North actually use their petals to reflect the sun's heat onto the flower's central ovary during the short growing season.

Examples of heliotrope in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Balancing its foodie elements—cocoa absolute, honey comb, and lemon sugar—with heliotrope puts a new twist on a familiar treat. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 19 Apr. 2022 The center of clan life is a flowering heliotrope tree by the ocean. New York Times, 16 Nov. 2021 Moncler Pour Femme conjures mountain magic with Italian bergamot, jasmine sambac, heliotrope, vanillin and Moncler’s exclusive Mountain Woods accord. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 Pegasus is powdery gourmand gold, built around vanilla, heliotrope flower and almond. Adam Hurly, Robb Report, 1 Oct. 2021 Smith took the idea for Botanical Studies from 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus’s studio, which was hung with prints and engravings of heliotrope, gardenia and other flora. Megan Conway, WSJ, 29 Aug. 2021 After the 2019 Ridgecrest quake, scientists rushed to build ultra-lightweight heliotrope balloons that could carry seismic sensing equipment aloft. Chris Wright, Wired, 4 Aug. 2021 The floral features top notes of mandarin, juicy accord and ginger blossom; a heart of aquatic accord, vanilla accord and heliotrope; and a base of musk, praline and amberwood. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 25 May 2021 The rich, fruity top note gives way to a heart of rich florals such as heliotrope and and tuberose, and dries down to a creamy sandalwood. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, 10 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heliotrope.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of heliotrope

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for heliotrope

Latin heliotropium, from Greek hēliotropion, from hēlio- heli- entry 1 + tropos turn; from its flowers' turning toward the sun — more at trope

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Time Traveler for heliotrope

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The first known use of heliotrope was in 1605

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Dictionary Entries Near heliotrope

heliothis moth


heliotrope gray

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Statistics for heliotrope

Last Updated

26 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Heliotrope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heliotrope. Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on heliotrope

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heliotrope


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