[boo-guh n-vil-ee-uh, -vil-yuh, boh-]
  1. any of several shrubs or vines of the genus Bougainvillea, native to South America, having small flowers with showy, variously colored bracts, and often cultivated in warm regions.

Origin of bougainvillea

1789; < New Latin, named after L. A. de Bougainville Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bougainvillea

Historical Examples of bougainvillea

  • Jefferson sat in the shade of the bougainvillea and pondered some letters.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck

    Harold Bindloss

  • Wolf crossed the flags, and when he stopped by the bougainvillea his face was red.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck

    Harold Bindloss

  • Betty in white by the bougainvillea, Olivia on the veranda in her black and gold.

    Kit Musgrave's Luck

    Harold Bindloss

  • And there are palms and cypress-trees, and bougainvillea and other climbing vines.

    The Ship Dwellers

    Albert Bigelow Paine

  • The gardens are full of camellias, roses, bougainvillea, &c.

    A Voyage in the 'Sunbeam'

    Annie Allnut Brassey

British Dictionary definitions for bougainvillea



  1. any tropical woody nyctaginaceous widely cultivated climbing plant of the genus Bougainvillea, having inconspicuous flowers surrounded by showy red or purple bracts

Word Origin for bougainvillea

C19: New Latin, named after Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729–1811), French navigator
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 bougainvillea

type of woody vine, 1866, named for French navigator Louis Bougainville (1729-1811).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper