n. pl. pan·sies
1. Any of various plants of the genus Viola, especially V. tricolor or its hybrids, widely cultivated for their flowers with velvety petals of various colors.
2. A deep to strong violet.
3. Offensive Slang
a. Used as a disparaging term for a man or boy who is considered effeminate.
b. Used as a disparaging term for a gay man.
[Middle English pancy, from Old French pensee, thought, remembrance, pansy, from feminine past participle of penser, to think; see PENSIVE.]
(click for a larger image)pansy
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.