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petunia

[pi-oo-nyuh, -nee-uh, -tyoo-]
noun
  1. any garden plant belonging to the genus Petunia, of the nightshade family, native to tropical America, having funnel-shaped flowers of various colors.
  2. a deep, reddish purple.
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Origin of petunia

1815–25; < New Latin < obsolete French petun tobacco < Tupi petyn; see -ia
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for petunia

Historical Examples of petunia

  • There was a patter of feet from the sitting-room and Barbara came running, Petunia in her arms.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • So Petunia would feel bad if I didn't go to Sam's, would she?

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Petunia and I know you ever and ever so well now and we're used to—to the way you do.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • And Petunia and I expect one, too, and we're just as excited about it as we can be.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Barbara, in the big rocker, looked up over Petunia's head at her mother.

    Shavings

    Joseph C. Lincoln


British Dictionary definitions for petunia

petunia

noun
  1. any solanaceous plant of the tropical American genus Petunia: cultivated for their white, pink, blue, or purple funnel-shaped flowers
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Word Origin for petunia

C19: via New Latin from obsolete French petun variety of tobacco, from Tupi petyn
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 petunia

n.

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]
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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper