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 nm.


of the color violet; reddish-blue: violet hats.

Origin of violet

1300–50; Middle English < Old French violete, equivalent to viole (< Latin viola violet) + -ete -et




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/. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for violet

Contemporary Examples of violet

Historical Examples of violet

  • Mary regarded the owner of the store with grave questioning in her violet eyes.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Then she looked up at the lawyer, and there were new lusters in the violet eyes.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The rising of the stars, or the opening of a violet; each fact was a surprise to her.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • Then the snowdrop sang a lullaby about the moss that loved the violet.

  • A long, long play-day it was to the little vine, the daisy, and the violet.

British Dictionary definitions for violet



any of various temperate perennial herbaceous plants of the violaceous genus Viola, such as V. odorata (sweet (or garden) violet), typically having mauve or bluish flowers with irregular showy petals
any other plant of the genus Viola, such as the wild pansy
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as the African violet
  1. any of a group of colours that vary in saturation but have the same purplish-blue hue. They lie at one end of the visible spectrum, next to blue; approximate wavelength range 445–390 nanometres
  2. (as adjective)a violet dress
a dye or pigment of or producing these colours
violet clothingdressed in violet
shrinking violet informal a shy person
Derived Formsviolet-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

Word Origin and History for violet

early 14c., small plant with purplish-blue flowers, from Old French violette, diminutive of viole "violet," from Latin viola, cognate with Greek ion (see iodine), probably from a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language. The color sense (late 14c.) developed from the flower.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

violet in Medicine




The hue of the short-wave end of the visible spectrum, evoked in the human observer by radiant energy with wavelengths of approximately 380 to 420 nanometers.
Any of a group of colors, reddish-blue in hue, that may vary in lightness and saturation.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

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.