periwinkle

noun (1)
per·​i·​win·​kle | \ ˈper-i-ˌwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce periwinkle (audio) \

Definition of periwinkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of several trailing or woody evergreen herbs of the dogbane family: such as
a(1) : a European creeper (Vinca minor) widely cultivated as a ground cover and for its blue or white flowers

called also myrtle

(2) : a trailing plant (Vinca major) with large blue flowers that is used as a ground cover and in window boxes
2 : a light purplish blue

called also periwinkle blue

periwinkle

noun (2)

Definition of periwinkle (Entry 2 of 2)

: any of various gastropod mollusks: such as
a : any of a genus (Littorina) of edible littoral marine snails also : any of various similar or related marine snails
b : any of several North American freshwater snails

Illustration of periwinkle

Illustration of periwinkle

Noun (2)

periwinkle a

In the meaning defined above

First Known Use of periwinkle

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

circa 1530, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for periwinkle

Noun (1)

Middle English perwinke, from Old English perwince, from Vulgar Latin *pervinca, short for Latin vincapervinca

Noun (2)

Middle English *periwinkle, alteration of Old English pīnewincle, from Latin pina, a kind of mussel (from Greek) + Old English -wincle (akin to Danish vincle snail shell)

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Time Traveler for periwinkle

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The first known use of periwinkle was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Periwinkle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/periwinkle. Accessed 22 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for periwinkle

periwinkle

noun
per·​i·​win·​kle | \ ˈper-i-ˌwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce periwinkle (audio) \

Kids Definition of periwinkle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an evergreen plant that spreads along the ground and has blue or white flowers

periwinkle

noun

Kids Definition of periwinkle (Entry 2 of 2)

: a small snail that lives along rocky seashores

periwinkle

noun
per·​i·​win·​kle | \ ˈper-i-ˌwiŋ-kəl How to pronounce periwinkle (audio) \

Medical Definition of periwinkle

: any of several trailing or woody evergreen plants of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae) especially : rosy periwinkle

More from Merriam-Webster on periwinkle

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about periwinkle

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