General English


  • A small wild flower of the genus Viola which looks like a very small pansy and whose mauve flowers are crystallized for use as cake or dessert decoration. The petals of the sweet violet, V. odorata, are used for their flavour by steeping them in vinegar.
  • masculine A Mediterranean sea creature, Microcosmus sulcatus, like a soft sac enclosed in a rubbery skin similar to the sea squirt and attached to deep rocks. The raw soft insides are relished by some who like the sour iodine taste. An acquired taste.


  • noun a dark, purplish blue colour at the end of the visible spectrum

Origin & History of “violet”

Violet was borrowed from Old French violete, a diminutive form of viole ‘violet’. this in turn went back to Latin viola ‘violet’, itself acquired by English in the 15th century. The word probably originated in a pre-Indo-European Mediterranean language, which also produced Greek íon ‘violet’ (source of English iodine). Its primary application is as a plant-name; its use as a colour term is a secondary application.