wall·​flow·​er | \ ˈwȯl-ˌflau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce wallflower (audio) \

Definition of wallflower

1a : any of several Old World perennial herbs (genus Cheiranthus) of the mustard family especially : a hardy erect herb (C. cheiri) widely cultivated for its showy fragrant flowers
b : any of a related genus (Erysimum) of herbs with showy flowers
2a : a person who from shyness or unpopularity remains on the sidelines of a social activity (such as a dance)
b : a shy or reserved person

Illustration of wallflower

Illustration of wallflower

wallflower 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for wallflower



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of wallflower in a Sentence

there were too many wallflowers at the party, so things never really got lively
Recent Examples on the Web As for the two Mitchell children, the director based both (including Katie and younger brother Aaron, a dinosaur-loving, antisocial wallflower) on himself (sorry to his older siblings). Joseph Longo, Vulture, "The Mitchells vs. The Machines Director Mike Rianda Wants to Make You Laugh (and Call Your Mom)," 30 Apr. 2021 Potato-leek soup, sometimes a wallflower, turns into a talker at the table. Washington Post, "Glover Park Grill woos its neighborhood with all-American cooking," 12 Mar. 2021 Where other Mall buildings are extroverts, demanding reverence, the Hirshhorn is the wallflower who showed up to the party in the wrong outfit and is choosing not to participate. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "Brutalist buildings aren’t unlovable. You’re looking at them wrong.," 25 Mar. 2021 BAYarts information notes that the term wallflower has often been used to describe someone sitting on the sidelines. Linda Gandee, cleveland, "BAYarts showcases women artists in March; call for artists in annual juried exhibition," 22 Feb. 2021 Such a revelation would have mortified Calvin Coolidge (Aug. 2, 1923-1929), who was shy and a bit of a wallflower, according to a story from his presidential foundation. Washington Post, "Biden didn’t get to bust a move during the inauguration, but previous commanders-in-chief have been known to boogie. Here’s how they stack up.," 21 Jan. 2021 In the final moments of the first season of the historical romance (now streaming), it's revealed that Penelope (Nicola Coughlan), seemingly an unassuming wallflower, is actually the most powerful person in the upper echelons of London society. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "Bridgerton star Nicola Coughlan spills tea on playing the Regency Kardashians, Penelope's arc," 28 Dec. 2020 Loretta Castorini is not a wallflower, exactly — more like a dandelion. New York Times, "Site Information Navigation," 9 Dec. 2020 Diana refused to be a fashion wallflower while pregnant. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "An Appreciation of Princess Diana’s Over-the-Top ’80s Maternity Style," 20 Nov. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of wallflower

1577, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wallflower

Time Traveler for wallflower

Time Traveler

The first known use of wallflower was in 1577

See more words from the same year

Statistics for wallflower

Last Updated

15 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wallflower.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wallflower. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wallflower



English Language Learners Definition of wallflower

informal : a person who is shy or unpopular and who stands or sits apart from other people at a dance or party
: a garden plant grown for its bright, pleasant-smelling flowers

Comments on wallflower

What made you want to look up wallflower? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!