flowering plant genus, 1550s, from French anemone (16c., corrected from Old French anemoine) and directly from Latin anemone, from Greek anemone "wind flower," literally "daughter of the wind," from anemos "wind" (cognate with Latin anima, from PIE root *ane- "to breathe") + -one feminine patronymic suffix.
According to Asa Gray it was so called because it was thought to open only when the wind blows. Klein suggests the flower name perhaps originally is from Hebrew (compare na'aman, in nit'e na'amanim, literally "plants of pleasantness," in Isaiah xvii.10, from na'em "was pleasant"). In zoology, applied to a type of sea creature (sea anemone) from 1773. Related: Anemonic.