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[lav-uh n-der] /ˈlæv ən dər/
a pale bluish purple.
any Old World plant or shrub belonging to the genus Lavandula, of the mint family, especially L. angustifolia, having spikes of fragrant, pale purple flowers.
the dried flowers or other parts of this plant placed among linen, clothes, etc., for scent or as a preservative.
Also called lavender water. toilet water, shaving lotion, or the like, made with a solution of oil of lavender.
of the color lavender.
  1. of or relating to homosexuality.
  2. homosexual or effeminate.
Origin of lavender
1225-75; Middle English lavendre < Anglo-French < Medieval Latin lavendula, variant of livendula, nasalized variant of *lividula a plant livid in color. See livid, -ule Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for lavender
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Along the edge of the green pines and spruce were lavender asters.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • Two other women, all clad in lavender, appeared in the doorway.

    The Yates Pride Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
  • Drawers and chests at "Gunn's" had been thick strewn with lavender for half a century.

  • It was lavender water; he drenched her hair and brow and hands.

  • There were other mountains, lavender and gray, in the distance.

    Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin
British Dictionary definitions for lavender


any of various perennial shrubs or herbaceous plants of the genus Lavandula, esp L. vera, cultivated for its mauve or blue flowers and as the source of a fragrant oil (oil of lavender): family Lamiaceae (labiates) See also spike lavender Compare sea lavender
the dried parts of L. vera, used to perfume clothes
  1. a pale or light bluish-purple to a very pale violet colour
  2. (as adjective): lavender socks
perfume scented with lavender
(modifier) (informal) of or relating to homosexuality: lavender language
Word Origin
C13: lavendre, via French from Medieval Latin lavendula, of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for lavender

"fragrant plant of the mint family," c.1300, from Anglo-French lavendre, Old French lavendre, from Medieval Latin lavendula "lavender" (10c.), perhaps from Latin lividus "bluish, livid." Associated with French lavande, Italian lavanda "a washing" (from Latin lavare "to wash;" see lave) because it was used to scent washed fabrics and as a bath perfume. (An identical Middle English word meant "laundress, washerwoman;" also, apparently, "prostitute, whore; camp follower" and is attested as a surname from early 13c.). The adjective meaning "pale purple color" is from 1840.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for lavender



Homosexual: Alberta Maged had marched with a coalition of groups including the Lavender Left and the Commie Queers/ Clinton dropped the gays like a flaming potato, suggesting they might serve in special lavender units

[1970s+; both blue and lavender are colors associated with homosexuality]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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