shrinking violet


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shrinking violet

A negative term for a very shy person. After years of being seen as nothing more than a shrinking violet, Christine decided to overcome her fears and start talking to strangers.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet

Fig. someone who is very shy and not assertive. I am not exactly a shrinking violet, but I don't have the guts to say what you said to her.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet, a

An extremely shy person, as in She was a shrinking violet until she went away to college. This metaphoric idiom refers to the flower, but the precise allusion is unclear, since violets thrive under a variety of conditions and often are considered a garden weed. [Early 1900s]
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a shrinking violet

If you describe someone as a shrinking violet, you mean that they are very shy. Give him a tough assignment and he turns into a shrinking violet. None of the women he paints could be described as shrinking violets. Note: You can say that someone is no shrinking violet to mean that they are very self-confident. Amber is no shrinking violet. She is a brash colourful character. Note: In the past, violets were considered to be a symbol of modesty, because of their small size and the fact that the flowers remain hidden among the leaves until they open.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet

an exaggeratedly shy person. informal
2004 Sunday Times Clough was no shrinking violet. He had absolute belief in himself and his methods, and wasn't afraid to say so to anybody.
See also: shrink, violet

a ˌshrinking ˈviolet

(humorous) a very shy person who is easily frightened: I can’t imagine why a dynamic young woman like her is marrying a shrinking violet like him.
See also: shrink, violet

shrinking violet, a

A very shy individual. Why the violet, a small but common shade-loving perennial, should be chosen to designate shyness is unclear. On the contrary, violets can boldly take over patches of ground, and gardeners may even find them difficult to eradicate from unwanted spaces. Nevertheless, the phrase has been used since the early 1900s. The Listener stated (July 22, 1976), “Frayn has not forgotten the underdog. . . . The shrinking violet . . . is the most dangerous plant in the glades of privilege.”
See also: shrink

shrinking violet

A shy person. The violet flower gives the impression of shyness, growing as it does close to the protective ground and often beneath other plants, shrubs and trees. Compared to other larger foliage, violets do seem to look as though they are shrinking, growing smaller. As applied to shy people, the phrase first appeared in both America and Great Britain in the 1820s.
See also: shrink, violet
References in periodicals archive ?
But it is not the most important thing in my life to feel the sexiest" Actress Salma Hayek "I am maturing like a fine wine" TV's Alan Titchmarsh demonstrates he is no shrinking violet
She plays the shrinking violet, who has been brought up by her religiously zealous mother (Julianne Moore).
RAUNCHY Rita Ora is no shrinking violet - especially in this sheer purple top.
WITH Paper to Petal, PS16.99, by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell, with forward by Martha Stewart, Natural History Museum Shop (www.nhmshop.co.uk) NO SHRINKING VIOLET...
THIS WEEK: Fashion editor Didi Danso tests out the Shrinking Violet Body Wrap We've all been there.
Clearly no shrinking violet, she said: "Lord Sugar would find it difficult to get a word in edgeways with me.
But when I hear about the new Shrinking Violet wrap, which is gaining quite a following, I'm tempted to try it before bikini season.
She's no shrinking violet. - Natasha Carr, Dewsbury, West Yorks AS this toxic couple go to jail our sympathies should go out to the only real victims in this sorry saga...
She is spotted by a greedy promoter who instinctively realises her considerable money-spinning potential, but the shrinking violet proves reluctant to step into the limelight.
They are not because the most important thing in my life is me Lawyer and Strictly Come Dancing contestant Nancy Dell'Olio, below, is no shrinking violet Champagne, champagne.
JOEY BARTON has had his first falling-out since joining Queens Park Rangers - with fellow shrinking violet Adel Taarabt.
When the planned murder of Fred Hale goes awry and innocent cafe waitress Rose (Andrea Riseborough) witnesses the chase, Pinkie sets out to seduce the shrinking violet to win her silence.
AUSSIE singer-songwriter McCue is no shrinking violet, fronting her own power trio with ferocious guitar one moment and the lightest of touches the next.
It's 13.8%, so no shrinking violet. This would go nicely with lamb chops or short ribs or with cassoulet.
This Cinderella is no shrinking violet but a tough little cookie in a gamine haircut who gives as good as she gets, socking her stepsisters (two travesty roles) when she can get away with it.