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[pingk] /pɪŋk/

verb (used with object)
to pierce with a rapier or the like; stab.
to finish at the edge with a scalloped, notched, or other ornamental pattern.
to punch (cloth, leather, etc.) with small holes or figures for ornament.
Chiefly British Dialect. to adorn or ornament, especially with scalloped edges or a punched-out pattern.
any of a group of colours with a reddish hue that are of low to moderate saturation and can usually reflect or transmit a large amount of light; a pale reddish tint
pink cloth or clothing: dressed in pink
any of various Old World plants of the caryophyllaceous genus Dianthus, such as D. plumarius (garden pink), cultivated for their fragrant flowers See also carnation (sense 1)
any of various plants of other genera, such as the moss pink
the flower of any of these plants
the highest or best degree, condition, etc (esp in the phrases in the pink of health, in the pink)

of the colour pink
(Brit, informal) left-wing
(US, derogatory)

(informal) of or relating to homosexuals or homosexuality: the pink vote
(of a huntsman’s coat) scarlet or red
(intransitive) another word for knock (sense 7)
verb (transitive)
to prick lightly with a sword or rapier
to decorate (leather, cloth, etc) with a perforated or punched pattern
to cut with pinking shears
a sailing vessel with a narrow overhanging transom
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.

The flower meaning led (by 1590s) to a figurative use for “the flower” or finest example of anything (e.g. 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.”

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” (see pungent). Surviving mainly in pinking shears.



Related Terms

in the pink, tickled pink


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