• synonyms


[sawr-uh l, sor-]
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  1. light reddish-brown.
  2. a horse of this color, often with a light-colored mane and tail.
  1. of the color sorrel.

Origin of sorrel1

1400–50; late Middle English < Old French sorel, equivalent to sor brown (< Germanic) + -el diminutive suffix; see -elle


[sawr-uh l, sor-]
  1. any of various plants belonging to the genus Rumex, of the buckwheat family, having edible acid leaves used in salads, sauces, etc.
  2. any of various sour-juiced plants of the genus Oxalis.Compare wood sorrel.
  3. any of various similar plants.

Origin of sorrel2

1350–1400; Middle English sorell < Old French surele, equivalent to sur sour (< Germanic; akin to Old High German sūr sour) + -el diminutive suffix; see -elle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sorrel

Historical Examples

British Dictionary definitions for sorrel


    1. a light brown to brownish-orange colour
    2. (as adjective)a sorrel carpet
  1. a horse of this colour

Word Origin

C15: from Old French sorel, from sor a reddish brown, of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch soor desiccated


  1. any of several polygonaceous plants of the genus Rumex, esp R. acetosa, of Eurasia and North America, having acid-tasting leaves used in salads and saucesSee also dock 4, sheep sorrel
  2. short for wood sorrel

Word Origin

C14: from Old French surele, from sur sour, of Germanic origin; related to Old High German sūr sour
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

Word Origin and History for sorrel


"reddish brown," especially of horses, mid-14c., from Old French sorel, from sor "yellowish-brown," probably from Frankish *saur "dry," or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *sauza- (cf. Middle Dutch soor "dry," Old High German soren "to become dry," Old English sear "withered, barren;" see sere). Perhaps a diminutive form in French.


small perennial plant, late 14c., from Old French surele (12c., Modern French surelle), from sur "sour," from Frankish *sur or some other Germanic source, from Proto-Germanic *sura- "sour" (cf. Old High German, Old English sur "sour;" see sour (adj.)). So called for the taste of its leaves.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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