Advertisement

pink (n., adj.)

1570s, common name of Dianthus, a garden plant of various colors, of unknown origin. Its use for "pale rose color" first recorded 1733 (pink-coloured is recorded from 1680s), from one of the colors of the flowers. The plant name is perhaps from pink (v.) via notion of "perforated" petals, or from Dutch pink "small" (see pinkie), from the term pinck oogen "half-closed eyes," literally "small eyes," which was borrowed into English (1570s) and may have been used as a name for Dianthus, which sometimes has pale red flowers.

As an earlier name for such a color English had incarnation "flesh-color" (mid-14c.), and as an adjective incarnate (1530s), from Latin words for "flesh" (see incarnation) but these also had other associations and tended to drift in sense from "flesh-color, blush-color" toward "crimson, blood color."

The flower meaning led (by 1590s) to a figurative use for "the flower" or finest example of anything (as in Mercutio's "Nay, I am the very pinck of curtesie," Rom. & Jul. II.iv.61). Political noun sense "person perceived as left of center but not entirely radical (i.e. red)" is attested by 1927, but the image dates to at least 1837. Pink slip "discharge notice" is first recorded 1915. To see pink elephants "hallucinate from alcoholism" first recorded 1913 in Jack London's "John Barleycorn."

pink (v.)

c. 1200, pungde "pierce, stab," later (early 14c.) "make holes in; spur a horse," of uncertain origin; perhaps from a Romanic stem that also yielded French piquer, Spanish picar (see pike (n.2)). Or perhaps from Old English pyngan and directly from Latin pungere "to prick, pierce" (from suffixed form of PIE root *peuk- "to prick"). Surviving mainly in pinking shears.

Others are reading

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of pink from WordNet
1
pink (v.)
make light, repeated taps on a surface;
Synonyms: tap / rap / knock
pink (v.)
sound like a car engine that is firing too early;
The car pinked when the ignition was too far retarded
Synonyms: ping / knock
pink (v.)
cut in a zigzag pattern with pinking shears, in sewing;
2
pink (n.)
a light shade of red;
pink (n.)
any of various flowers of plants of the genus Dianthus cultivated for their fragrant flowers;
Synonyms: garden pink
pink (n.)
a person with mildly leftist political views;
Synonyms: pinko
3
pink (adj.)
of a light shade of red;
Synonyms: pinkish
From wordnet.princeton.edu