A wallflower is someone who's so shy that they typically stand or sit alone rather than engaging with a larger group. If you tend to be introverted and a bit awkward at parties, you might describe yourself as a wallflower.

A botanist would tell you that wallflowers are actual flowers; a relative of the cabbage, wallflowers are native to southern Europe and grow tiny blossoms of various colors. Figurative wallflowers are even more varied, including introverts, people with social anxiety, and extremely reserved folks. The stereotypical wallflower stands against the wall at a party, too shy to ask someone to dance. This meaning dates back to at least 1820.

Definitions of wallflower
  1. noun
    any of numerous plants of the genus Erysimum having fragrant yellow or orange or brownish flowers
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    Cheiranthus allionii, Erysimum allionii, Siberian wall flower
    showy erect biennial or short-lived perennial cultivated for its terminal racemes of orange-yellow flowers; sometimes placed in genus Cheiranthus
    type of:
    a plant cultivated for its blooms or blossoms
  2. noun
    perennial of southern Europe having clusters of fragrant flowers of all colors especially yellow and orange; often naturalized on old walls or cliffs; sometimes placed in genus Erysimum
    synonyms: Cheiranthus cheiri, Erysimum cheiri
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    type of:
    a plant cultivated for its blooms or blossoms
  3. noun
    someone who remains on sidelines at social events
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    type of:
    shrinking violet, shy person
    someone who shrinks from familiarity with others
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘wallflower'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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