- any of several, sometimes thorny trees or shrubs belonging to the genus Rhamnus, especially R. frangula, the bark of which is used in medicine.Compare buckthorn family.
- a tree or shrub belonging to the genus Bumelia, of the sapodilla family, especially B. lycioides, a thorny tree having elliptic leaves and large clusters of white flowers, common in the southern and part of the central U.S.
Origin of buckthorn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for buckthorn
Keep the dog quiet and give him a dose of castor oil and buckthorn.The Airedale
Mike with a grin pointed at his buckthorn which leaned against the wall.
And Mike walked up to the maple and tapped it smartly with his buckthorn.
Buckthorn was a century ago much used for hedges and arches.Old-Time Gardens
Alice Morse Earle
The buckthorn, for example, was just coming out; and the dogwood, and the mountain laurel.Gold
- any of several thorny small-flowered shrubs of the genus Rhamnus, esp the Eurasian species R. cathartica, whose berries were formerly used as a purgative: family RhamnaceaeSee also sea buckthorn
C16: from buck 1 (from the spiny branches, imagined as resembling antlers) + thorn
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012