stringed musical instrument played with a bow, c. 1500, vial, from Old French viole, viol "stringed instrument like a fiddle," from Old Provençal viola (see viola).
1845; in music for stringed instruments of the viol family, noting a manner of playing (and the effect produced by it) when the strings are plucked by the finger instead of sounded by the bow, from Italian pizzicato "plucked," past participle of pizzicare "to pluck (strings), pinch," from pizzare "to prick, to sting," from Old Italian pizzo "point, edge," from Vulgar Latin *pits-, probably of imitative origin. As an adjective from 1880.
small wild plant with purplish-blue flowers, c. 1300, from Old French violete (12c.), diminutive of viole "violet," from Latin viola "the violet, a violet color," cognate with Greek ion (see iodine), probably from a pre-Indo-European substrate Mediterranean language. The color sense (late 14c.) developed from the flower.
"an occasional pastime, an activity other than that for which one is well-known, or at which one excells," 1963, from French, literally "Ingres' violin," from the story that the great painter preferred to play his violin (badly) for visitors instead of showing them his pictures.
Une légende, assez suspecte, prétend que le peintre Ingres état plus fier de son jeu sur le violon, jeu qui était fort ordinaire, que de sa peinture, qui l'avait rendu illustre. [Larousse du XXe Siecle, 1931]