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[sam-fahyuh r] /ˈsæm faɪər/
a European succulent plant, Crithmum maritimum, of the parsley family, having compound leaves and small, whitish flowers, growing in clefts of rock near the sea.
Origin of samphire
1535-45; earlier sampiere < Middle French (herbe de) Saint Pierre (herb of) Saint Peter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for samphire
Historical Examples
  • Sea spleenwort and masses of 113 samphire grew on the cliffs to his right.

    Antony Gray,--Gardener Leslie Moore
  • Mother said he'd take the samphire by boat to Fellness, and I thought perhaps he'd take me too.

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie
  • They got across the sands with their samphire, just as Coomber and Bob were springing ashore.

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie
  • There was no tuft of samphire to brush her face as she descended.

    In the Roar of the Sea Sabine Baring-Gould
  • The samphire is there still—the crithmum maritimum, or cranagh.

  • It held but three flowers, samphire, sea-rocket, and sea-heath.

  • Outside the wall the samphire and orach beds are wholly marine.

  • Here the samphire grew in abundance, and the little girl set to work to fill the two large baskets that stood near.

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie
  • You'll take me, daddy, won't yer—'cos I've picked a lot of samphire—all that, and another basketful up there?

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie
  • We found the plain very barren as we passed along it, producing nothing but a kind of samphire, and other such marine plants.

British Dictionary definitions for samphire


Also called rock samphire. an umbelliferous plant, Crithmum maritimum, of Eurasian coasts, having fleshy divided leaves and clusters of small greenish-white flowers
golden samphire, a Eurasian coastal plant, Inula crithmoides, with fleshy leaves and yellow flower heads: family Asteraceae (composites)
another name for glasswort (sense 1)
any of several other plants of coastal areas
Word Origin
C16 sampiere, from French herbe de Saint Pierre Saint Peter's herb; perhaps influenced by camphirecamphor
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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