Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various plants of the genus Viola, especially V. tricolor or its hybrids, widely cultivated for their flowers with velvety petals of various colors.
  • noun A deep to strong violet.
  • noun Used as a disparaging term for a man or boy who is considered effeminate.
  • noun Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A favorite species of violet, Viola tricolor; the heart's-ease.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) A plant of the genus Viola (Viola tricolor) and its blossom, originally purple and yellow. Cultivated varieties have very large flowers of a great diversity of colors. Called also heart's-ease, love-in-idleness, and many other quaint names.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Common name for a cultivated flowering plant, Viola tricolor hortensis, derived from heartsease; many garden varieties are hybrids.
  • noun A deep purple colour, like that of the pansy.
  • noun derogatory, colloquial, dated A male homosexual, especially one who is effeminate.
  • noun derogatory, colloquial A timid, weak man or boy; a wuss.
  • adjective Wimpy; spineless; feeble.
  • adjective Of a deep purple colour, like that of the pansy.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun offensive term for an openly homosexual man
  • noun large-flowered garden plant derived chiefly from the wild pansy of Europe and having velvety petals of various colors
  • noun a timid man or boy considered childish or unassertive

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English pancy, from Old French pensee, thought, remembrance, pansy, from feminine past participle of penser, to think; see pensive.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the French pensée ("thought"), as the plant resembles someone that is in deep thought, with a lowered head.

Examples

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