See more synonyms for gorse on Thesaurus.com
  1. any spiny shrub of the genus Ulex, of the legume family, native to the Old World, especially U. europaeus, having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers and growing in waste places and sandy soil.

Origin of gorse

before 900; Middle English gorst, Old English; akin to German Gerste, Latin hordeum barley
Also called furze; especially British, whin.
Related formsgors·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for gorse

Historical Examples of gorse

  • Meanwhile they fired the gorse in front of the 29th Division.

  • It's 'Kate' in the sea, and 'Kate' in the river, and the trees and the gorse.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • Why, to carry her, you torment, to carry her through the gorse like this.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • If the gorse should fail the fuchsia might even take its place on the mountains.

  • Just stirring the peats, and boiling the kettle, and lifting the gorse when there was any fire.

British Dictionary definitions for gorse


  1. any evergreen shrub of the leguminous genus Ulex, esp the European species U. europeaus, which has yellow flowers and thick green spines instead of leavesAlso called: furze, whin
Derived Formsgorsy, adjective

Word Origin for gorse

Old English gors; related to Old Irish garb rough, Latin horrēre to bristle, Old High German gersta barley, Greek khēr hedgehog
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 gorse

Old English gors "gorse, furze," from Proto-Germanic *gorst- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German gersta, Middle Dutch gherste, Dutch gerst, German gerste "barley"), from PIE *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Latin hordeum "barley;" see horror).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper