- any boraginaceous plant of the genus Heliotropium, esp the South American H. arborescens, cultivated for its small fragrant purple flowers
- garden heliotrope ⇒ a widely cultivated valerian, Valeriana officinalis, with clusters of small pink, purple, or white flowers
- any of various plants that turn towards the sun
- a bluish-violet to purple colour
- (as adjective): a heliotrope dress
- an instrument used in geodetic surveying employing the sun's rays reflected by a mirror as a signal for the sighting of stations over long distances
- another name for bloodstone
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
- Plant Biologyany hairy plant belonging to the genus Heliotropium, of the borage family, as H. arborescens, cultivated for its small, fragrant purple flowers.
- Plant Biologyany of various other plants, as the valerian or the winter heliotrope.
- Plant Biologyany plant that turns toward the sun.
- a light tint of purple;
- Surveyingan arrangement of mirrors for reflecting sunlight from a distant point to an observation station.
- Mineralogy, Jewelrybloodstone.
- Medieval Latin
- Greek hēliotrópion (see helio-, -trope); compare Middle English elitropium, elitropius, Old English eliotropus
- Latin hēliotropium
- Middle French héliotrope