[chohl-yah, -yuh; Spanish chaw-yah]

noun, plural chol·las [chohl-yahz, -yuh z; Spanish chaw-yahs] /ˈtʃoʊl yɑz, -yəz; Spanish ˈtʃɔ yɑs/.

any of several spiny treelike cacti belonging to the genus Opuntia, especially O. fulgida of the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, having knobby outgrowths and yellow spines.

Origin of cholla

1855–60, Americanism; < Mexican Spanish cholla head (perhaps < Old French (dial.) cholle ball < Gmc); see keel1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cholla

Contemporary Examples of cholla

Historical Examples of cholla

  • Among these the cholla is at once one of the most fascinating and the most exasperating.

    The Book of the National Parks

    Robert Sterling Yard

  • Cholla (Opuntia fulgida) ranges from Nevada southward into Mexico.

    American Forest Trees

    Henry H. Gibson

  • So if you are to see this phenomenon you will have to be on time, for Cholla never wait.

    The Fantastic Clan

    John James Thornber

  • Very cautiously a man emerged from behind a clump of cholla.

    Steve Yeager

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The dried heaps of cholla stirred as if unseen paws had pressed them.

    The Heart of the Desert

    Honor Willsie Morrow

British Dictionary definitions for cholla



any of several spiny cacti of the genus Opuntia that grow in the southwestern US and Mexico and have cylindrical stem segmentsSee also prickly pear

Word Origin for cholla

Mexican Spanish, from Spanish: head, perhaps from Old French (dialect) cholle ball, of Germanic origin
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