American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several plants of the genus Mirabilis, especially M. jalapa, native to tropical America and widely cultivated for its funnel-shaped or tubular, variously colored flowers that open late in the afternoon.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The Australian friar-bird or leatherhead, Tropidorhynchus corniculatus: so called from its cry, which is fancied to sound like four o'clock. See cut under friar-bird.
- n. The marvel-of-Peru, Mirabilis jalapa: so called form the fact that its flowers open in the afternoon.
- n. Same as fourings.
- n. Any of several plants, of the genus Mirabilis, whose funnel-shaped flowers open in late afternoon
- n. The friarbird; so called from its cry, which resembles these words.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A plant of the genus Mirabilis. There are about half a dozen species, natives of the warmer parts of America. The common
four-o'clockis M. Jalapa. Its flowers are white, yellow, and red, and open toward sunset, or earlier in cloudy weather; hence the name. It is also called marvel of Peru, and afternoon lady.
- n. (Zoöl.) The friar bird; -- so called from its cry, which resembles these words.
- n. any of several plants of the genus Mirabilis having flowers that open in late afternoon
“The administration always saved bad news for the four-o'clock mail drop-off on Fridays.”
“After a day of second thoughts, and three conversations with her friend Audrey Payne in Utah, Blythe parked her Taurus in the agreed-upon location an hour before the four-o'clock rendezvous and hid in a carefully selected spot in some woods above the picnic area.”
“She read a lot, mainly plays and novels, and tended her favorite flowers, garden balsam, hibiscus, common four-o'clock, and roses of Sharon in pots in the courtyard, where she also cultivated dwarf trees.”
“Her husband would free for an hour or so after lunch but had a four-o'clock ointment he would have to keep.”
“He explained to Sheila the absolute necessity of his having to tell that fib about the four-o'clock engagement; and when she heard described the drive in the closed brougham which she had escaped, perhaps she was not so greatly inclined as she ought to have been to protest against that piece of wickedness.”
“Even his unprotected boyhood had been shielded from four-o'clock journeys in the wintry woods heretofore.”
“We shall just catch the four-o'clock train very comfortably if we go now," Godfrey replied.”
“Her and the judge got in with the two children down in front, and they drove off to catch the four-o'clock train.”
“Soon I heard "Mumma," and then followed an invitation to four-o'clock tea that day, and as I was going, "Puppa must come too" was called out.”
“The latter comprises mostly tropical plants, and is represented in our gardens by the showy "four-o'clock" (_Mirabilis_).”
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