- any garden plant belonging to the genus Petunia, of the nightshade family, native to tropical America, having funnel-shaped flowers of various colors.
- a deep, reddish purple.
Origin of petunia
Examples from the Web for petunia
There was a patter of feet from the sitting-room and Barbara came running, Petunia in her arms.
So Petunia would feel bad if I didn't go to Sam's, would she?
Petunia and I know you ever and ever so well now and we're used to—to the way you do.
And Petunia and I expect one, too, and we're just as excited about it as we can be.
Barbara, in the big rocker, looked up over Petunia's head at her mother.
- any solanaceous plant of the tropical American genus Petunia: cultivated for their white, pink, blue, or purple funnel-shaped flowers
Word Origin and History for petunia
1825, from Modern Latin Petunia (1789), from French petun (16c.), an obsolete word for "tobacco plant," from Portuguese petum, from Guarani (Paraguay) pety. It has a botanical affinity to the tobacco plant. The word first is recorded (in German) as bittin; it survives as the regular word for tobacco only in Breton butun, but it was in use in English in 17c.
Many haue giuen it the name, Petum, whiche is in deede the proper name of the Hearbe, as they whiche haue traueiled that countrey can tell. [John Frampton, translation of Nicolás Monardes' "Joyful Newes Oute of the Newe Founde Worlde," 1577]