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1. Any of various plants that move or are believed to move in response to the sun, especially the Mediterranean species Chrozophora tinctoria.

[Middle English turnesole, dye made from C. tinctoria, from Old French tournesol, from Old Italian tornasole : tornare, to turn (from Latin tornāre; see turn) + sole, sun (from Latin sōl; see sāwel- in Indo-European roots).]


1. (Plants) any of various plants having flowers that are said to turn towards the sun
2. (Plants) a euphorbiaceous plant, Croton tinctoria, of the Mediterranean region that yields a purple dye
3. (Dyeing) the dye extracted from this plant
[C14: from Old French tournesole, from Old Italian tornasole, from tornare to turn + sole sun, from Latin sōl sun]



1. any of several plants regarded as turning with the movement of the sun.
2. a European plant, Chrozophora tinctoria, of the spurge family, yielding a purple dye.
3. the dye itself; litmus.
[1325–75; Middle English turnesole < Middle French tournesol < Italian tornasole, literally, (it) turns (toward the) sun, on the model of Greek hēliotrópion heliotrope]