1 of 2

noun (1)

pur·​ple·​heart ˈpər-pəl-ˌhärt How to pronounce purpleheart (audio)
: a strong durable purplish wood that is obtained from various leguminous trees (genus Peltogyne) of Central and South America
also : a tree producing such wood

Purple Heart

2 of 2

noun (2)

: a U.S. military decoration awarded to any member of the armed forces wounded or killed in action

Examples of purpleheart in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Some of my favorite get-loud strikers include purpleheart, hickory, and birch. Jace Bauserman, Outdoor Life, 4 Mar. 2020 Neil Sperry Mixed perennials were chosen for seasons of color (purpleheart, yarrow, cannas and others). Neil Sperry, star-telegram, 1 May 2017
Army records indicate only two of the 31 received Purple Heart medals, which are awarded to service members wounded or killed during action against an enemy. CBS News, 11 May 2024 The troops, which included members of an elite army unit specializing in explosive ordnance disposal (EOD), had decorated Boomer posthumously with a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. IEEE Spectrum, 27 Apr. 2024 The Purple Heart recipient had witnessed the liberation of two concentration camps and survived the Battle of the Bulge before he was shot dead, CBS reported. Christina Coulter, Fox News, 20 Apr. 2024 For his service, Sampson has received the Purple Heart, Combat Action Badge, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal. Alexandra Hardle, The Arizona Republic, 6 Apr. 2024 As a result of that incident, the Purple Heart recipient lost both legs below the knees. Jeff Fedotin, Forbes, 1 Mar. 2024 Griffin’s father, Edgar G. Griffin, born in Mexico to an Irish family, was a 101st Airborne paratrooper who survived the Normandy landing on D-day and was awarded a Purple Heart. Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times, 21 Feb. 2024 For his service and sacrifice, Hammett's family accepted the Purple Heart and Presidential Unit Citation, his obituary added. Brian Brant, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 Under enemy fire, Mr. Howard was wounded and received the Purple Heart. Frederick N. Rasmussen, Baltimore Sun, 7 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'purpleheart.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1738, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1932, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of purpleheart was in 1738

Dictionary Entries Near purpleheart

purple haw


Purple Heart

Cite this Entry

“Purpleheart.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purpleheart. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

Purple Heart

: a U.S. military decoration awarded to any member of the armed forces wounded or killed in action
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