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per·i·win·kle 1 (pĕrĭ-wĭngkəl)
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n.
1. Any of various marine snails of the family Littorinidae, having thick, cone-shaped, whorled shells, especially Littorina littorea, an edible species of the North Atlantic Ocean.
2. The shell or the flesh of any of these snails.

[Early Modern English, perhaps from alteration (possibly influenced by pervinkle, periwinkle (plant)) of an unattested Middle English reflex of Old English winewincle : Old English wine-, of unknown meaning (perhaps from alteration of Latin pīna, a kind of bivalve mollusk, from Greek pīnē, of unknown origin) + Old English -wincel, shellfish (perhaps ultimately (in reference to the shape of snail shells) from Germanic *wenk-, to move sideways, also the source of Old English wincel, corner, and wincian, wink (originally, "to bend the eyelids"), and German wanken, to waver).]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
per·i·win·kle 2 (pĕrĭ-wĭngkəl)
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n.
1. Any of several shrubby, trailing, evergreen plants of the genus Vinca, especially V. minor, having glossy, dark green, opposite leaves and flowers with a blue, funnel-shaped corolla.
2. Any of several erect herbs of the genus Catharanthus, especially C. roseus, having flowers with a rose-pink or white salverform corolla and a closed throat.
3. A pale purplish blue.

[Middle English pervinkle, diminutive of pervinke, from Old English pervince, from Late Latin (vinca) pervinca, alteration (perhaps influenced by Latin pervincere, to conquer completely) of Latin vicapervica, perhaps originally a magical verbal formula (the use of the periwinkle in magical rituals being known later from medieval European traditions), perhaps akin to pervicus, stubborn (per-, intensive pref.; see PER- + vincere, vic-, to conquer; see VICTOR) or to vincīre, to bind together, hold fast, and vicia, vetch; see VETCH.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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