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columbine1

[kol-uh m-bahyn]
noun
  1. a plant, Aquilegia caerula, of the buttercup family, having showy flowers with white petals and white to blue sepals that form long, backward spurs: the state flower of Colorado.
  2. any of various other plants of the genus Aquilegia, characterized by divided leaves and showy flowers of various colors.
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Origin of columbine1

1275–1325; Middle English < Medieval Latin columbīna (herba) dovelike (plant), feminine of Latin columbīnus (see columbine2); the inverted flower looks like a group of doves

columbine2

[kol-uh m-bahyn, -bin]
adjective
  1. of a dove.
  2. dovelike; dove-colored.
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Origin of columbine2

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin columbīnus, equivalent to columb(a) dove + -īnus -ine1

Columbine

[kol-uh m-bahyn]
noun
  1. a female character in commedia dell'arte and pantomime: sweetheart of Harlequin.
  2. a female given name.
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Origin of Columbine

1720–30; < Italian Columbina literally, dovelike girl; see columbine2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for columbine

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Fennel, for instance, emblemised flattery, and columbine ingratitude.

    Storyology

    Benjamin Taylor

  • Climene had been silent and thoughtful, pondering what Columbine had called this romance of hers.

    Scaramouche

    Rafael Sabatini

  • There, still at his brooding, the returning Columbine discovered him a half-hour later.

    Scaramouche

    Rafael Sabatini

  • Columbine snapped like the shrew she masked: "You little sneak!"

    Nobody

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • Hold on a minute, I'm going to shift my saddle to Columbine.

    Peggy Stewart at School

    Gabrielle E. Jackson


British Dictionary definitions for columbine

columbine1

noun
  1. any plant of the ranunculaceous genus Aquilegia, having purple, blue, yellow, or red flowers with five spurred petalsAlso called: aquilegia
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Word Origin

C13: from Medieval Latin columbīna herba dovelike plant, from Latin columbīnus dovelike, from the resemblance of the flower to a group of doves

columbine2

adjective
  1. of, relating to, or resembling a dove
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Word Origin

C14: from Old French colombin, from Latin columbīnus dovelike, from columba dove

Columbine

noun
  1. (originally) the character of a servant girl in commedia dell'arte
  2. (later) the sweetheart of Harlequin in English pantomime
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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 columbine

n.

c.1300, from Old French columbine "columbine," or directly from Medieval Latin columbina, from Late Latin columbina "verbena," fem. of Latin columbinus, literally "dove-like," from columba "dove." The inverted flower supposedly resembles a cluster of five doves. Also a fem. proper name; in Italian comedy, the name of the mistress of Harlequin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper