Etymology
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periwinkle (n.1)

trailing evergreen plant with starry flowers, c. 1500, from Middle English pervinkle (early 14c. as a surname), a diminutive of parvink, pervink (12c.), which is from Old English perwince, pervince, from Late Latin pervinca "periwinkle," which is perhaps from Latin pervincire "to entwine, bind," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + vincire "to bind, fetter" (see wind (v.1)). Altered by association with words in peri-. In Middle English it was figurative of beauty, also a paragon, but also evil.

periwinkle (n.2)

kind of sea snail, 1520s, apparently an alteration of Old English pinewincle (probably by influence of Middle English parvink; see periwinkle (n.1)); from Old English pine-, which probably is from Latin pina "mussel," from Greek pine. The second element is wincel "corner; spiral shell," from Proto-Germanic *winkil-, from PIE root *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)). But no Middle English forms have been found.

updated on April 08, 2020

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