- a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.
- any person, organization, etc., that remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of any activity: The firm was a wallflower in this year's bidding for government contracts.
- a European plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of the mustard family, that, when growing wild on walls, cliffs, etc., has sweet-scented, usually yellow or orange flowers, but when cultivated has flowers varying in color from pale yellow to brown-red or purple.
- any of several related plants of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum.
Origin of wallflower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for wallflower
Specifically: the second it appeared in that trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower.Your Guide to the Grammys: 11 Songs to Listen to Before Sunday’s Awards
January 26, 2014
But Michele Bachmann, who has been a wallflower of late, may point the way to a more efficacious line of attack: crony capitalism.2 Candidates—2 Republican Parties
September 13, 2011
On The Real Housewives of New York City, Alex McCord has morphed from wallflower to rabble-rouser.The Real Housewives of New York City's Alex McCord Lets Loose
May 25, 2011
His anthology, On Film Festivals (Wallflower Press), was published in 2009.Who Killed Gordon Gekko?
May 14, 2010
The legendary singer, who died Sunday, was no wallflower when it came to defending herself against racial slurs.Lena Horne's Stormy Past
May 10, 2010
A beautiful girl in church on Sunday mornings, but a wallflower at a dance.Spring Street
James H. Richardson
A wallflower had forced itself into root on the sill of a giant oriel.What Will He Do With It, Complete
Sally Anders had never really thought of herself as a wallflower.The Calm Man
Frank Belknap Long
The Wallflower, as its name tells you, likes to grow on walls.Flowers Shown to the Children
C. E. Smith
One plant of the wallflower in the garden would have covered it.Neither Dorking Nor The Abbey
J. M. Barrie
- Also called: gillyflower a plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of S Europe, grown for its clusters of yellow, orange, brown, red, or purple fragrant flowers and naturalized on old walls, cliffs, etc: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
- any of numerous other crucifers of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum, having orange or yellow flowers
- informal a person who stays on the fringes of a dance or party on account of lacking a partner or being shy
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
Word Origin and History for wallflower
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper