periwinkle

1
[ per-i-wing-kuhl ]
See synonyms for periwinkle on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. any of various marine gastropods or sea snails, especially Littorina littorea, used for food in Europe.

  2. the shell of any of these animals.

Origin of periwinkle

1
1520–30; perhaps reflecting (through assimilation to periwinkle2) Old English pīnewincle, equivalent to pīne (from Latin pīna from Greek pínē, pîna, a kind of mollusk) + -wincel “shellfish” (occurring only in compounds), cognate with dialectal Danish vinkel “snail shell”

Words Nearby periwinkle

Other definitions for periwinkle (2 of 2)

periwinkle2
[ per-i-wing-kuhl ]

noun
  1. Also called myrtle. a trailing plant, Vinca minor, of the dogbane family, having glossy, evergreen foliage and usually blue-violet flowers.

  2. any of several similar plants of the genus Vinca or Catharanthus.

  1. a blue-violet color.

Origin of periwinkle

2
before 1000; earlier pervinkle, perwinkle, alteration (see -le) of Middle English perwinke, pervinke, from Anglo-French pervenke (Old French pervenche ,) from Late Latin pervinca, Latin vi(n)capervi(n)ca; compare Old English peruince, Middle High German ber(e)winke from Late Latin pervinca

Other words from periwinkle

  • per·i·win·kled, adjective

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use periwinkle in a sentence

  • Miss Tucker here held the slate up in front of her and stared at the picture of periwinkle.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston
  • The little grandchild, periwinkle, sat on the floor with that funny-serious air that belonged to her chubby face.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston
  • And now that Henrietta was in trouble, the little Illinois periwinkle had gone off in her self-reliant fashion to see about it.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston
  • There were times when the memory of her country home and little periwinkle came into her mind like a fresh breeze from the hills.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston
  • But the old lady persisted, and, above all, little periwinkle informed Rob that she was going down to see about Henrietta.

    Duffels | Edward Eggleston

British Dictionary definitions for periwinkle (1 of 2)

periwinkle1

/ (ˈpɛrɪˌwɪŋkəl) /


noun
  1. any of various edible marine gastropods of the genus Littorina, esp L. littorea, having a spirally coiled shell: Often shortened to: winkle

Origin of periwinkle

1
C16: of unknown origin

British Dictionary definitions for periwinkle (2 of 2)

periwinkle2

/ (ˈpɛrɪˌwɪŋkəl) /


noun
  1. Also called (US): creeping myrtle, trailing myrtle any of several Eurasian apocynaceous evergreen plants of the genus Vinca, such as V. minor (lesser periwinkle) and V. major (greater periwinkle), having trailing stems and blue flowers

    • a light purplish-blue colour

    • (as adjective): a periwinkle coat

Origin of periwinkle

2
C14 pervenke, from Old English perwince, from Late Latin pervinca

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