tulip

tu·lip (to͞o’lĭp, tyo͞o’-)
n. 1) Any of several bulbous plants of the genus Tulipa of the lily family, native chiefly to Asia and widely cultivated for their showy, variously colored, cup-shaped flowers. 2) The flower of any of these plants.
[French tulipe, alteration of tulipan, from Ottoman Turkish tülbend, muslin, gauze, turban (from the shape of the opened flower), from Persian dulband, turban.]
Word History: The word tulip, like the cultivated tulip plant itself, has its origins in the Middle East. The tulip figures frequently in Persian verse, where its red color evokes the blood of martyrs and the fire of love, and in Turkey, tulips are associated with the delicate refinement and luxury that characterized the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power. Western European visitors to the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s were astonished by the beautiful expanses of tulips cultivated by the sultans. Tulips were brought to western Europe from the Ottoman Empire sometime in the same century, and the English word tulip ultimately stems from Ottoman Turkish tülbend, meaning "muslin, gauze," and also "turban." The Turkish word for a turban seems to have been used for the flower in western European languages because a fully opened tulip was thought to resemble a turban, the typical headwear of men in the land where tulips originated. (The actual Turkish word for a tulip is lale, from Persian lâle.) Turkish tülbend, used as a name for the tulip, was borrowed into many languages of western Europe as the popularity of the tulip spread, and by the late 1500s it had reached English, in which it was at first variously spelled tulipa, tulipant, and tulip. The English word turban, also first recorded in English in the 1500s, can be traced to Ottoman Turkish tülbend, too.

Word Histories. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • tulip — (n.) 1570s, via Du. or Ger. tulpe, Fr. tulipe a tulip, all ultimately from Turk. tülbent turban, also gauze, muslin, from Pers. dulband turban; so called from the fancied resemblance of the flower to a turban. Introduced from Turkey to Europe,… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Tulip — Tu lip, n. [F. tulipe, OF. also tulipan, It. tulipano, tulipa, from Turk. tulbend, dulbend, literally, a turban, Per. dulband; so called from the resemblance of the form of this flower to a turban. See {Turban}.] (Bot.) Any plant of the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tulip — ► NOUN ▪ a spring flowering plant with boldly coloured cup shaped flowers. ORIGIN French tulipe, from Persian, turban (from the shape of the flower) …   English terms dictionary

  • tulip — [to͞o′lip, tyo͞o′lip] n. [Fr tulipe (earlier tulipan) < Turk tülbend, TURBAN: from the flower s resemblance to a turban] 1. any of various bulb plants (genus Tulipa) of the lily family, mostly spring blooming, with long, broad, pointed leaves… …   English World dictionary

  • Tulip — For other uses, see Tulip (disambiguation). Tulip Cultivated tulip – Floriade 2005, Canberra Scientific classification Kingdom …   Wikipedia

  • tulip — tuliplike, adj. /tooh lip, tyooh /, n. 1. any of various plants belonging to the genus Tulipa, of the lily family, cultivated in many varieties, and having lance shaped leaves and large, showy, usually erect, cup shaped or bell shaped flowers in… …   Universalium

  • tulip — n. 1 any bulbous spring flowering plant of the genus Tulipa, esp. one of the many cultivated forms with showy cup shaped flowers of various colours and markings. 2 a flower of this plant. Phrases and idioms: tulip root a disease of oats etc.… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Tulip — This rare and unusual surname is of Anglo Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now lost place, believed to have been situated in Northumberland, because of the large number of early recordings in that region. An… …   Surnames reference

  • tulip — UK [ˈtjuːlɪp] / US [ˈtulɪp] noun [countable] Word forms tulip : singular tulip plural tulips a colourful flower shaped like a cup that grows on a long stem in spring …   English dictionary

  • tulip — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ dwarf ▪ early, late TULIP + NOUN ▪ bulb ▪ fields Tulip is used before these nouns: ↑ …   Collocations dictionary

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