painted lady

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painted lady (1)
painted ladies (4) in San Francisco


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painted lady (plural painted ladies)

  1. Any of certain cryptic patterned butterflies of genus Vanessa (family Nymphalidae), especially Vanessa cardui.
    Synonym: (US) cosmopolite
  2. The painted trillium (Trillium undulatum), a forest wildflower of North America.
  3. A flower of the pea family, Gompholobium scabrum, native to southwestern Australia.
  4. (slang, dated or historical) A prostitute (in reference to their use of makeup).
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:prostitute
    • 2011, Jan MacKell, Red Light Women of the Rocky Mountains, page 348:
      In Cheyenne in 1883, a Dr. W.A. Wyan tried in vain to save painted lady Sallie Talbot.
  5. (US, architecture) A Victorian house repainted with vibrant colors to accentuate the architectural design, especially in San Francisco, California.
    • 2006, Karen Zukowski, Creating the Artful Home, Gibbs Smith, →ISBN, page 80:
      An archetypal American streetscape is lined with Aesthetic movement houses: Stick Style cottages with muscular roof trusses and exposed timbering; many-colored painted ladies with gingerbread porches; []
  6. The sea snail Phasianella australis.


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