heliotrope[hē′lē ə trōp′; also, chiefly Brit, hel′ē ə-]
- Obsolete a sunflower or other plant whose flowers turn to face the sun
- any of a genus (Heliotropium) of plants of the borage family, with fragrant clusters of small, white or reddish-purple flowers
- garden heliotrope
- reddish purple
- a kind of heliograph (sense ) used in surveying
Origin of heliotropeFrench héliotrope ; from Classical Latin heliotropium ; from Classical Greek hēliotropion ; from hēlios, the sun (see Helios) + base of trepein, to turn (see trope)
- a. Any of several plants of the genus Heliotropium, especially H. arborescens, native to Peru and having small, highly fragrant purplish flowers. Also called turnsole.b. The garden heliotrope.c. Any of various plants that turn toward the sun.
- See bloodstone.
- A moderate, light, or brilliant violet to moderate or deep reddish purple.
Origin of heliotropeMiddle English elitrope (from Old English eliotropus) and French héliotrope, both from Latin hēliotropium, from Greek hēliotropion : hēlio-, helio- + tropos, turn; see trope.
(countable and uncountable, plural heliotropes)
- (botany) A plant that turns so that it faces the sun.
- (botany) Particularly, a purple-flowered plant of the species Heliotropium arborescens.
- A light purple or violet colour.
- The fragrance of heliotrope flowers.
- (mineralogy) A bloodstone (a variety of quartz).
- (surveying) An instrument, employed in triangulation, that uses a mirror to reflect sunlight toward another, very distant, surveyor.
(comparative more heliotrope, superlative most heliotrope)
- (direction): heliotropic
From French héliotrope, from Ancient Greek ἡλιοτρόπιον (hēliotropion), from ἥλιος (hēlios, “sun”) + τρέπω (trepō, “turn”).