• synonyms


  1. any of various plants of the mustard family, especially the watercress, having pungent-tasting leaves often used for salad and as a garnish.
  2. any of various similar plants.
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Origin of cress

before 900; Middle English cresse, Old English cress(a), cresse; cognate with Dutch kers, German Kresse
Related formscress·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for cress

Historical Examples of cress

  • Cress, Romaine, or bleached chicory may be used in place of lettuce.


    Sarah Tyson Heston Rorer

  • Cress, thou wilt not do anything to Sir Richard of Gloucester?

    Earl Hubert's Daughter

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Serve on platter with meat, garnished with cress or parsley.

  • No cress could she find, so she thought she would turn back and go home.

  • When this is not procurable, cress makes an attractive border to a salad.

British Dictionary definitions for cress


  1. any of various plants of the genera Lepidium, Cardamine, Arabis, etc, having pungent-tasting leaves often used in salads and as a garnish: family Brassicaceae (crucifers)See also watercress, garden cress
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Word Origin for cress

Old English cressa; related to Old High German cresso cress, kresan to crawl
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 cress


Old English cresse, originally cærse, from Proto-Germanic *krasjon- (cf. Middle Low German kerse, karse; Middle Dutch kersse; Old High German kresso, German Kresse), from PIE root *gras- "to devour" (see gastric). It underwent a metathesis similar to that of grass. French cresson, Italian crescione are Germanic loan-words.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper