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wallflower

[wawl-flou-er]
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noun
  1. a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.
  2. any person, organization, etc., that remains on or has been forced to the sidelines of any activity: The firm was a wallflower in this year's bidding for government contracts.
  3. a European plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of the mustard family, that, when growing wild on walls, cliffs, etc., has sweet-scented, usually yellow or orange flowers, but when cultivated has flowers varying in color from pale yellow to brown-red or purple.
  4. any of several related plants of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum.
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Origin of wallflower

First recorded in 1570–80; wall + flower
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for wallflower

solitary, egotist, loner, egoist, narcissist, wallflower, brooder, autist

Examples from the Web for wallflower

Contemporary Examples of wallflower

Historical Examples of wallflower


British Dictionary definitions for wallflower

wallflower

noun
  1. Also called: gillyflower a plant, Cheiranthus cheiri, of S Europe, grown for its clusters of yellow, orange, brown, red, or purple fragrant flowers and naturalized on old walls, cliffs, etc: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)
  2. any of numerous other crucifers of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum, having orange or yellow flowers
  3. informal a person who stays on the fringes of a dance or party on account of lacking a partner or being shy
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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 wallflower

n.

1570s, "flowering plant cultivated in gardens," from wall (n.) + flower (n.). Colloquial sense of "woman who sits by the wall at parties, often for want of a partner" is first recorded 1820.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper