• synonyms


[boo l-ruhsh]
  1. (in Biblical use) the papyrus, Cyperus papyrus.
  2. any of various rushes of the genera Scirpus and Typha.
Show More

Origin of bulrush

1400–50; late Middle English bulrish papyrus, probably bull1 + rish rush2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bulrush

Historical Examples

  • On the oat-grass and the sword-grass, and the bulrush in the pool.

    Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine, March 1844


  • Through the bulrush stems John heard their voices and laughter.

    Fort Amity

    Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

  • He split the second bulrush as an experiment and just the same thing happened.

  • My soul was bowed down like a bulrush for some days after I came here.

    The Story of My Life

    Egerton Ryerson

  • It may here be mentioned that the bulrush of Scripture is undoubtedly the papyrus.

    Bible Animals;

    J. G. Wood

British Dictionary definitions for bulrush


  1. a grasslike cyperaceous marsh plant, Scirpus lacustris, used for making mats, chair seats, etc
  2. a popular name for reed mace (def. 1)
  3. a biblical word for papyrus (def. 1)
Show More

Word Origin

C15 bulrish, bul- perhaps from bull 1 + rish rush ², referring to the largeness of the plant; sense 2 derived from the famous painting by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836–1912), Dutch-born English painter, of the finding of the infant Moses in the "bulrushes" — actually reed mace
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 bulrush


also bullrush, type of tall plant growing in or near water (in Biblical use, the Egyptian papyrus), mid-15c., bolroysche, from rush (n.); the signification of bull is doubtful.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper