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[buhk-thawrn] /ˈbʌkˌθɔrn/
any of several, sometimes thorny trees or shrubs belonging to the genus Rhamnus, especially R. frangula, the bark of which is used in medicine.
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
1570-80; buck1 + thorn, rendering New Latin cervi spina Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for buckthorn
Historical Examples
  • Keep the dog quiet and give him a dose of castor oil and buckthorn.

    The Airedale

    Williams Haynes
  • Mike with a grin pointed at his buckthorn which leaned against the wall.

    The Boy Patrol on Guard Edward S. Ellis
  • And Mike walked up to the maple and tapped it smartly with his buckthorn.

    The Boy Patrol on Guard Edward S. Ellis
  • 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 Stewart White
  • Flower of a buckthorn showing a conspicuous perigynous disk.

  • But the reed, like the buckthorn, is a sort of Jack-of-all-trades.

    The Cathedral Joris-Karl Huysmans
  • Until the autumn the Spindle, we fear, is rarely recognized as such, but gets confused with buckthorn and Dogwood.

  • "She's too stylish to be good for much," being the excellent Mrs. buckthorn's severe corollary.

    And So They Were Married Florence Morse Kingsley
  • Our two native species of buckthorn are shrubs of from five to ten feet in height.

British Dictionary definitions for buckthorn


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 Rhamnaceae See also sea buckthorn
Word Origin
C16: from buck1 (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
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