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[milk-weed] /ˈmɪlkˌwid/
any of several plants that secrete a milky juice or latex, especially those of the genus Asclepias, as A. syriaca.
Compare milkweed family.
any of various other plants having a milky juice, as certain spurges.
Origin of milkweed
First recorded in 1590-1600; milk + weed1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for milkweed
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Historical Examples
  • This ant-lion charged into the placidly feeding aphids on the milkweed plant.

    Nightmare Planet Murray Leinster
  • What a singular decree has Nature declared with reference to the milkweed!

    My Studio Neighbors William Hamilton Gibson
  • A Monarch rose from a stalk of milkweed, and winged its stately flight just ahead of her.

    Bee and Butterfly Lucy Foster Madison
  • But its method of capture is somewhat similar to the milkweed.

    My Studio Neighbors William Hamilton Gibson
  • Other men padded saddles with milkweed and sewed and polished leather.

    When the Owl Cries Paul Bartlett
  • Look at the seeds of the boneset, joe-pye-weed, milkweed, and goldenrod!

    The Fall of the Year Dallas Lore Sharp
British Dictionary definitions for milkweed


Also called silkweed. any plant of the mostly North American genus Asclepias, having milky sap and pointed pods that split open to release tufted seeds: family Asclepiadaceae See also asclepias
any of various other plants having milky sap
orange milkweed, another name for butterfly weed
another name for monarch (sense 3)
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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Word Origin and History for milkweed

1590s, from milk (n.) + weed (n.); used in reference to various plants whose juice resembles milk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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