pimpernel

[ pim-per-nel, -nl ]
/ ˈpɪm pərˌnɛl, -nl /
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noun

a plant belonging to the genus Anagallis, of the primrose family, especially A. arvensis (scarlet pimpernel), having scarlet or white flowers that close at the approach of bad weather.

Origin of pimpernel

1400–50; late Middle English pympernele < Middle French pimprenelle, nasalized variant of Old French piprenelle < Late Latin *piperīnella, equivalent to piper pepper + -īn- -ine1 + -ella diminutive suffix; replacing Old English pipeneale < Late Latin pipīnella, syncopated variant of *piperīnella
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for pimpernel

pimpernel

/ (ˈpɪmpəˌnɛl, -nəl) /

noun

any of several plants of the primulaceous genus Anagallis, such as the scarlet pimpernel, typically having small star-shaped flowers
any of several similar and related plants, such as Lysimachia nemorum (yellow pimpernel)

Word Origin for pimpernel

C15: from Old French pimpernelle, ultimately from Latin piper pepper; compare Old English pipeneale
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