- skip - Brewer’s



So called because it grows on old walls and ruined buildings. It is a native plant. Similarly, wallcress, wall-creeper, etc., are plants which grow on dry, stony places, or on walls. Wall-fruit is fruit trained against a wall. (See Walnut.)

Herrick has a pretty fancy on the origin of this flower. A fair damsel was long kept in durance vile from her lover; but at last

Up she got upon a wall,

ʹTempting down to slide withal;

But the silken twist untied,

So she fell, and, bruised, she died.

Love, in pity of the deed,

And her loving luckless speed,

Turned her to this plant we call

Now the ‘Flower of the wall.ʹ”

Young ladies who sit out against the wall, not having partners during a dance, are called “wallflowers.”

previous entry · index · next entry


Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

previous entry · index · next entry

Walker’s Bus
Walking Gentleman (A)
Walking Sword (A)
Walkyries (The)
Wall (The)
Walls have Ears
Wallace’s Larder
Wallsend Coals
Walnut [foreign nut]
Walnut Tree
Walpurgis Night
Walston (St.)
Walter Multon
Waltham Blacks