American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various low-growing herbs of the genus Viola, having short-spurred, irregular flowers that are characteristically purplish-blue but sometimes yellow or white.
- n. Any of several similar plants, such as the African violet.
- n. 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; any of a group of colors, reddish-blue in hue, that may vary in lightness and saturation.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A plant of the genus Viola, or one of its flowers; also, one of a few plants of other genera. See Viola, compound names below, and cut in next column.
- n. A general class of colors, of which the violetflower is a highly chromatic example. In the spectrum the violet extends from
hto H, covering all the upper part of the spectrum ordinarily visible. This color can be produced by a slight admixture of red to blue; and colors somewhat more red than the upper part of the spectrum are called violet. But the sensation of violet is produced by a pure blue whose chroma has been diminished while its luminosity has been increased. Thus, blue and violet are the same color, though the sensations are different. A mere increase of illumination may cause a violet blue to appear violet, with a diminution of apparent chroma. This color, called violet or blue according to the quality of the sensation it excites, is one of the three fundamental colors of Young's theory. It is nearly complementary to the color of brightness, so that deep shades generally appear by contrast of a violet tinge; and the light of a rainy day, and still more of a sudden tempest, has a violet appearance. Even the pure yellow of the spectrum, so reduced as to be barely visible, looks violet beside the same light in great intensity.
- n. Any one of the many different small blue or violet butterflies of Lycæna, Polyommatus, and allied genera.
- n. Locally, same as bog-violet.
- Having the color of violet, a deep blue tinged with red.
- n. A viola d'amore. Sometimes called English violet.
- n. A bluish-purple colour.
- n. Viola, a genus of fragrant plants with white, purple or yellow flowers.
- n. Any of several plants that look like the plants of the genus Viola but are taxonomically unrelated to them.
- adj. Having a bluish-purple colour.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) Any plant or flower of the genus Viola, of many species. The violets are generally low, herbaceous plants, and the flowers of many of the species are blue, while others are white or yellow, or of several colors, as the pansy (Viola tricolor).
- n. The color of a violet, or that part of the spectrum farthest from red. It is the most refrangible part of the spectrum.
- n. In art, a color produced by a combination of red and blue in equal proportions; a bluish purple color.
- n. (Zoöl.) Any one of numerous species of small violet-colored butterflies belonging to Lycæna, or Rusticus, and allied genera.
- adj. Dark blue, inclining to red; bluish purple; having a color produced by red and blue combined.
- n. a variable color that lies beyond blue in the spectrum
- n. any of numerous low-growing violas with small flowers
- adj. of a color intermediate between red and blue
- From Old French violette, from Latin viola ("violet") (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old French violete, diminutive of viole, from Latin viola. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Not surprisingly, the word violet is derived from the flower of the same name via the French violette or viola, and is cognate with the Greek ion, from which the word iodine is derived.”
“One number of these is bent by the prism to where we see what we call the violet, another number to the place we call red.”
“There are red and white radishes; and the French have also what they call violet and black ones, of which the black are the larger.”
“I ain't no shrinkin 'violet, no delicate flower either.”
“The whole rite of this day is celebrated in violet vestments; therefore, this change of vestments present no particular difficulties.”
“One possible motive for this change would be that the Crosses are veiled in violet, while this part of the rite is done in red vestments.”
“And be it understood that upon Holy Saturday violet is to be worn at every office which has a place before Mass; with this exception, that the Deacon who blesses the Paschal Candle, and the Subdeacon who serves him, are vested respectively in a Dalmatic and Tunicle of white ...”
“Since it is both the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter, the rite begins in violet vestments, the color of penance, but ends in white, the color of Easter, and of the baptismal garments, for in antiquity this sacrament was administered as far as possible on this night, or at Pentecost.”
“Now, the question is often asked therefore, "why then do we see older dalmatics and tunicles in violet?”
“As the common name implies, all of the Colibri are characterized by their violet ear patches.”
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