Pimpernel definition

pĭmpər-nĕl, -nəl
Any of various plants of the genus Anagallis, having opposite leaves and flowers with a five-lobed calyx, especially the scarlet pimpernel.
noun
0
0
Any of a genus (Anagallis) of plants of the primrose family, esp. the scarlet pimpernel (A. arvensis), with red, white, or blue, starlike flowers which close in bad weather.
noun
0
0
(now rare) A plant of the genus Pimpinella, especially burnet saxifrage, Pimpinella saxifraga. [from 16th c.]
noun
0
0
Any of various plants of the genus Anagallis, having small red, white or purple flowers, especially the scarlet pimpernel, Anagallis arvensis. [from 15th c.]
noun
0
0
Great burnet or salad burnet. [from 16th c.]
noun
0
0
Advertisement
Someone resembling the fictional Scarlet Pimpernel; a gallant dashing resourceful man given to remarkable feats of bravery and derring-do in liberating victims of tyranny and injustice. [from 20th c.]
noun
0
0

Other Word Forms

Noun

Singular:
pimpernel
Plural:
pimpernels

Origin of pimpernel

  • Middle English pimpernelle from Old French alteration of piprenelle from Late Latin pimpinella perhaps from Latin piper pepper pepper

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Anglo-Norman pimpernele et al., Middle French pimpinelle (“burnet saxifrage") et al., from Late Latin pipinella, most likely from Vulgar Latin *piperinus (“pepper-like"), because its fruit resembled peppercorns, from Latin piper. It has also been linked to Latin bipinnella, from bipennis (“two-winged").

    From Wiktionary