[dawg-woo d, dog-]


any tree or shrub of the genus Cornus, especially C. sanguinea, of Europe, or C. florida, of America.
the wood of any such tree.
a light to medium brown or a medium yellowish-brown color.


having the color dogwood.

Origin of dogwood

First recorded in 1610–20; dog + wood1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dogwood

Historical Examples of dogwood

  • The brigade was halted before a stretch of forest white with dogwood.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Violet and bloodroot, dogwood and purple Judas tree were all bespangled, bespangled with dew.

    The Long Roll

    Mary Johnston

  • Senators were less ornamental than the dogwood or even the judas-tree.

  • The dogwood, too, is opening, and the wild guelder-roses there are in full bloom.

    The Toilers of the Field

    Richard Jefferies

  • Persimmon and dogwood are examples, and hickory in a less degree.

    American Forest Trees

    Henry H. Gibson

British Dictionary definitions for dogwood



any of various cornaceous trees or shrubs of the genus Cornus, esp C. sanguinea, a European shrub with clusters of small white flowers and black berries: the shoots are red in winter
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 dogwood

shrubs and small trees of the genus Cornus, 1610s, earlier dog-tree (1540s); the first element sometimes said to have been perhaps dag -- cf. dagger, dag (v.) "to pierce or stab" (1630s, perhaps 15c.) -- the trees have hard, white wood that was used in making skewers; another name for it was skewer-wood. But another guess is that the tree was given the name in reference to its fruit, which was called dogberry from 1550s, and dog had implications of "cheap, inferior" (i.e. "fit for a dog").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper