Definitions

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

  • n. Any of several small, often edible marine snails, especially of the genus Littorina, having thick, cone-shaped, whorled shells.
  • n. The shell of any of the periwinkles.
  • n. Any of several shrubby, trailing, evergreen plants of the genus Vinca, especially V. minor, having glossy, dark green, opposite leaves and flowers with a blue, funnel-shaped corolla. Also called myrtle.
  • n. Any of several erect herbs of the genus Catharanthus, especially C. roseus, having flowers with a rose-pink or white salverform corolla and a closed throat.
  • n. A pale purplish blue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A color with bluish and purplish hues, somewhat light.
  • adj. Of pale bluish purple colour.
  • n. A mollusk of genus Littorina.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any small marine gastropod shell of the genus Littorina. The common European species (Littorina littorea), in Europe extensively used as food, has recently become naturalized abundantly on the American coast. See littorina.
  • n. A trailing herb of the genus Vinca.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A plant of the genus Vinca, most often one or other of the familiar garden species, v. major, the larger, and v. minor, the lesser periwinkle.
  • n. A kind of seasnail; any member of the family Littorinidæ, and especially of the genus Littorina. See cuts under Littorina and Littorinidæ.
  • n. One of several large whelks or conch-shells, as Busycon (Fulgur) carica, Sycotypus canaliculatus, and various species of Purpura, as P. ostrina, P. lapillus, P. floridana: commonly called winkles or wrinkles. They are pests in the oyster-beds.
  • n. In Australia, a name given to the gastropod Turbo undulatus.

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

  • n. commonly cultivated Old World woody herb having large pinkish to red flowers
  • n. edible marine gastropod
  • n. chiefly trailing poisonous plants with blue flowers
  • n. small edible marine snail; steamed in wine or baked

Etymologies

Middle English *periwinkle, probably alteration (influenced by pervinkle, periwinkle (plant)) of Old English pīnewincle : Latin pīna, mussel (from Greek pīnē) + Old English -wincel, snail shell.
Middle English pervinkle, diminutive of pervinke, from Old English pervince, from Latin (vinca) pervinca, from pervincīre, to wind about.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Diminutive of Middle English perwinke, from Old English perfince, perwince (compare Middle High German berwinke), from Latin (vinca) pervinca (compare French pervenche, Italian pervinca), of unknown origin. (Wiktionary)
Middle English, alteration of *pinewinkle (compare English dialectal pennywinkle), from Old English pīnewincle, compound of Latin pīna 'kind of mussel', itself from Ancient Greek pîna, variant of pínna 'mussel') and -wincle (compare Danish dial. vinkel 'snail shell'), from wincel 'corner'. More at winch and wink. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • And the ones I tried on were brown; the model's are in periwinkle pinstripes!

    Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway

  • The Insufferable Know-It-All: Might have looked better in periwinkle.

    HP rides again

  • The periwinkle is a kind of shrub; it grows at the foot of the oyster-tree, and twines round it as the ivy does the oak.

    The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen

  • The sky is a deep grey-white, with the faintest hint of that shade of purple that I still know of as "periwinkle," because that's what it was called in my box of 100 Crayolas, when I was a kid.

    The Entry That Almost Wasn't

  • To encourage relaxation in the rooms where people gather family rooms, living rooms, large kitchens consider warmer blues, such as periwinkle, or bright blues, such as cerulean or turquoise.

    Mood lighting for an emotional bathing experience

  • The blue flower looks like some sort of miniaturized "periwinkle".

    grouse Diary Entry

  • Maybe a long association with the poor is to blame, possibly its familiarity as a playground euphemism or just the fact that it is impossible to eat one with any degree of decorum (its less familiar name "periwinkle" comes from the old English for "winding mussel").

    Travel news, travel guides and reviews | guardian.co.uk

  • Jeans with elaborate detailing on the pockets, shirts in colors such as periwinkle, heather, golden pear and hollyberry, T-shirts, crews and polos in soft pima cotton, and a good pair of loafers, says Tom Purdy, men's manager for Dillard's.

    IdahoStatesman.com News Updates

  • a medieval prototype of Winkle, is explained as for "periwinkle," whereas it is a common Middle-English word, existing now in the shortened form wench, and means Child.

    The Romance of Names

  • Felix et errabunda XLVI opening my curtains to golden autumn sunlight and a periwinkle blue sky

    Felix et errabunda XLVI

Comments

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  • I went to school with Dicky Dilver. Nervous chap.

    January 11, 2009

  • Another rhyme for silver: the periwinkle goes by the name of Dick-a-dilver or dicky dilver. Presumably not by choice.

    January 11, 2009

  • "Vinca major
    Apocynaceae
    Names : Greater Periwinkle
    Habitat : Indigenous to Southern Europe
    Collection : This herb is collected in the spring.
    Part Used : Aerial parts.
    Constituents : Indole alkaloids, tannins
    Actions : Astringent
    Indications : Periwinkle is an excellent all-round astringent that maybe used internally or externally. Its main use is in the treatment of excessive menstrual flow, either during the period itself (menorrhagia) or with blood loss between periods (metrorrhagia). As with other remedies that effect the uterus, it can be used to address similar processes in the urinary system. Thus it can be used for cases hematuria. It can be used in digestive problems such as colitis or diarrhoea where it will act to reduce the loss of fluid or blood whilst toning the membranes. It may also be used in cases of nose bleed, bleeding gums, mouth ulcers or sore throats. It has a questionable reputation for aiding in the treatment of diabetes.

    Combinations : It will combine well with Cranesbill and Agrimony. For menstrual problems it may be used with Beth Root.

    Preparations & Dosage : Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take l-2 ml of the tincture three times a day."

    http://www.rain-tree.com/periwinkle.htm

    October 15, 2008