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

  • noun Any of various plants of the genus Erysimum of the mustard family, having fragrant yellow, orange, or brownish flowers, especially the widely cultivated species E. cheiri.
  • noun One who does not participate in the activity at a social event because of shyness or unpopularity.
  • noun A security, company, or industry that is out of favor with investors.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An old favorite garden flower and pot-plant, Cheiranthus Cheiri, native in southern Europe, where it grows on old walls, cliffs, and the sides of quarries.
  • noun A man or woman who, at a ball or party, sits by the wall, or looks on without dancing, either from choice or from being unable to dance or to obtain a partner.

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

  • noun (Bot.) A perennial, cruciferous plant (Cheiranthus Cheiri), with sweet-scented flowers varying in color from yellow to orange and deep red. In Europe it very common on old walls.
  • noun colloq. A lady at a ball, who, either from choice, or because not asked to dance, remains a spectator.
  • noun (Bot.) In Australia, the desert poison bush (Gastrolobium grandiflorum); -- called also native wallflower.

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

  • noun Several short-lived herbs or shrubs of the Erysimum genus with bright yellow to red flowers.
  • noun informal A person who is socially awkward, especially one who does not dance at a party due to shyness.

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

  • noun perennial of southern Europe having clusters of fragrant flowers of all colors especially yellow and orange; often naturalized on old walls or cliffs; sometimes placed in genus Erysimum
  • noun any of numerous plants of the genus Erysimum having fragrant yellow or orange or brownish flowers
  • noun remains on sidelines at social event


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • someone who is shy not so sociable at the parties or other gatherings

    November 17, 2007

  • This is such a colorful word. I always imagined it was coined by someone who realized that these people are not dullards; often they're intelligent, interesting people and with a little coaxing they really blossom. Of course, I just tell myself that because the wallflower is usually me. ;-)

    November 17, 2007

  • Close enough, uselessness. WeirdNet has it partly right--that kind of flower was so dubbed because it grows wild on old walls, rocks, quarries, and so on. And I always had a similar image in mind. :-)

    November 17, 2007

  • Don't forget that there are perks.

    November 20, 2007