1. any chiefly low, stemless or leafy-stemmed plant of the genus Viola, having purple, blue, yellow, white, or variegated flowers.Compare violet family.
  2. any such plant except the pansy and the viola.
  3. the flower of any native, wild species of violet, as distinguished from the pansy: the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
  4. any of various similar plants of other genera.
  5. 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.


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


  1. a female given name.


  1. 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
  2. any other plant of the genus Viola, such as the wild pansy
  3. 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
  4. a dye or pigment of or producing these colours
  5. violet clothingdressed in violet
  6. shrinking violet informal a shy person

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.


  1. 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.
  2. Any of a group of colors, reddish-blue in hue, that may vary in lightness and saturation.

see shrinking violet.

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