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A wallflower is a type of plant native to Europe, but the word has also come into use as an idiom. We will examine the definitions of wallflower, where the term came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A wallflower is a person who remains outside the festivities of a party, a person who attends a dance but does not take part in the dancing. A wallflower may simply be shy or may be unpopular for some reason. The word wallflower is sometimes applied to people or organizations left on the sidelines of any activity, not necessarily those attending a party. The idiom wallflower is derived from the plant, the wallflower, which grows by clinging to walls or rocks. The idea is that the person in question is clinging to the wall rather than taking part in the activity. The plural form of wallflower is wallflowers.


“Freak Show” doesn’t shy from blanket regional stereotyping, but then neither does its hero: Billy enters the local high school with such a superiority complex that he never bothers to learn the name of the one open-minded wallflower (AnnaSophia Robb) who initially befriends him. (Variety Magazine)

As the name suggest, the party rolls out all the best bops from Daft Punk, as well as related artists, for those who are somewhere between dramatic move-buster and reluctant wallflower. (The Chicago Tribune)

My final reason for loving my position as a wallflower is just getting to watch the events unfold and soak up the surroundings. (The Reading Eagle)

Check out some of the other idioms we covered:

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