heliotrope

noun
he·​lio·​trope | \ˈhē-lē-ə-ˌtrōp, 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

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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

The Hotel Charleston Cartagena was once a convent; today the refectory table at the entry holds a gigantic arrangement of heliotropes and birds-of-paradise. Maureen Orth, Town & Country, "Inside Cartagena," 11 Jan. 2013 For a brief moment, the fragrances of blackcurrant, tuberose, heliotrope and iris mingled with the smoky notes of Indonesian wood or Greek figs would wash over me. Aleksandra Crapanzano, WSJ, "The Untold Story Behind Paris’s Most Charming Boutique," 21 June 2018 The London candle is reminiscent of the Columbia Road flower market, with notes of tropical heliotrope, lilac, juniper, and sweet-smelling hyacinth with a hint of spice, which feels like an homage to the city’s diverse culture. Shannon Barbour, The Cut, "You Can Buy These Exclusive Diptyque Candles for 4 Days Only," 6 Apr. 2018 PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com Pineland heliotrope has a flower smaller than a dime that is yellow in southeast Florida but has white blooms on the state’s west coast. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "In Miami suburbs, last remnants of the world’s rarest forest endure — at least for now," 4 May 2017 PATRICK FARRELL pfarrell@miamiherald.com Pineland heliotrope has a flower smaller than a dime that is yellow in southeast Florida but has white blooms on the state’s west coast. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "In Miami suburbs, last remnants of the world’s rarest forest endure — at least for now," 4 May 2017

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.

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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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Last Updated

18 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for heliotrope

The first known use of heliotrope was in 1605

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More from Merriam-Webster on heliotrope

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heliotrope

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heliotrope

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