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[pohk-weed] /ˈpoʊkˌwid/
a tall herb, Phytolacca americana, of North America, having juicy purple berries and a purple root used in medicine, and young edible shoots resembling asparagus.
Also called pokeroot
[pohk-root, -roo t] /ˈpoʊkˌrut, -ˌrʊt/ (Show IPA),
scoke, garget.
Origin of pokeweed
An Americanism dating back to 1745-55; poke4 + weed1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for pokeweed
Historical Examples
  • Is there anywhere a more audacious beauty than the pokeweed in autumn?

    In the Open Stanton Davis Kirkham
  • pokeweed is a native American, and what a lusty, royal plant it is!

    A Year in the Fields John Burroughs
  • Rivina, ri-vī′na, n. a genus of apetalous plants, the pokeweed family.

  • A few tufts of elder, with here and there a patch of briers and pokeweed, flourished in the gravelly soil.

    Peter Parley's Own Story Samuel G. Goodrich
  • The pokeweed berries will color a good red,” continued Mrs. Scott; “but for scarlet we must use the dogwood roots.

    A Little Maid of Ticonderoga Alice Turner Curtis
  • Mr. pokeweed was promptly on hand, and tore madly into the burning pile, whence he soon emerged with a nude female.

  • Just then the front wall toppled outward, and pokeweed cleared the street at a single bound.

British Dictionary definitions for pokeweed


a tall North American plant, Phytolacca americana, that has small white flowers, juicy purple berries, and a poisonous purple root used medicinally: family Phytolaccaceae Sometimes shortened to poke Also called inkberry
Word Origin
C18 poke, shortened from Algonquian puccoon plant used in dyeing, from pak blood
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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