[ vahy-uh-lit ]
/ ˈvaɪ ə lɪt /
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any chiefly low, stemless or leafy-stemmed plant of the genus Viola, having purple, blue, yellow, white, or variegated flowers.Compare violet family.
any such plant except the pansy and the viola.
the flower of any native, wild species of violet, as distinguished from the pansy: the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
any of various similar plants of other genera.
reddish-blue, a color at the opposite end of the visible spectrum from red, an effect of light with a wavelength between 400 and 450 nanometers.
of the color violet; reddish-blue: violet hats.
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Origin of violet

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English, from Old French violete, equivalent to viole (from Latin viola violet) + -ete diminutive suffix; see -et

Other definitions for violet (2 of 2)

[ vahy-uh-lit ]
/ ˈvaɪ ə lɪt /

a female given name.
Also Vi·o·lette [vahy-uh-let, vahy-uh-lit], /ˌvaɪ əˈlɛt, ˈvaɪ ə lɪt/, Vi·o·let·ta [vahy-uh-let-uh]. /ˌvaɪ əˈlɛt ə/.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


violet flower

A violet is a flower known for its vibrant bluish-purple color (the basis of the name of the color violet).

The name violet can refer to any flower in the genus Viola, some of which are other colors (including blue, yellow, and white) or are variegated. The most well-known variety is called the common blue violet. The violet family contains many different species of plants, including trees and shrubs.

The violet is the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Rhode Island. It’s also one of the February birth flowers (a flower that’s associated with a particular month in the same way as a birthstone).

Violets are often said to represent modesty. The idiom shrinking violet refers to someone who is shy or (overly) modest.

Example: For my birthday, my wife always gives me a bouquet of beautiful violets.

What color is violet?

The word violet is also commonly used as the name of a color—one like that of the flower. Violet is one of the colors of the rainbow—the visual spectrum of color—along with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and indigo (violet is the V in the abbreviation ROYGBIV). Beyond violet on this spectrum is ultraviolet, which is not visible to the naked eye.

How is violet different from purple?

Although in casual use violet is often used to refer to a shade of purple (or vice versa), the word purple is more broad and can refer to any shade between red and blue. Generally speaking, violet is much more blue in hue; purple is more reddish.

Where does violet come from?

The first records of the word violet come from the 1300s. It ultimately comes from the Latin name for the flower, viola.

Wild violets can be perennial or annual, meaning some species may last only for a season while others may bloom year after year. Violets usually bloom in early spring.

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What are some words that share a root or word element with violet

What are some words that often get used in discussing violet?

How is violet used in real life?

When people say violet, they are usually referring to the small purple flower or the purple color.


Try using violet!

True or False?

Violets are said to symbolize modesty.

How to use violet in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for violet

/ (ˈvaɪəlɪt) /


Derived forms of violet

violet-like, adjective

Word Origin for violet

C14: from Old French violete a little violet, from viole, from Latin viola violet
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with violet


see shrinking violet.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.