Wednesday, 26 January 2011

In the Pink of Health

PINK v. To prick or pierce with a sharp object. Probably before 1200 pungen; from Old English pyngan borrowed directly from Latin pungere. See “pinking scissors.”

And thus the Dianthus plumarius is named pink due to the frilled edge of its petals and in 1592 Shakespeare will have Mercutio exclaim “I am the very pink of courtesy” and Romeo reply “Pink for flower.” By the 18th century pink means the most perfect condition of something, the finest example of excellence, the height, as in “the pink of health.” It also becomes a noun that means pale red or light crimson. Pink, as we know it, is born.

Chambers Dictionary of Etymology: PINK light red color, 1573; a garden plant of various colors; of uncertain origin.

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