• synonyms


  1. any of numerous plants belonging to the genus Crataegus, of the rose family, typically a small tree with stiff thorns, certain North American species of which have white or pink blossoms and bright-colored fruits and are cultivated in hedges.
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Origin of hawthorn

before 900; Middle English; Old English haguthorn, cognate with Middle Dutch hagedorn, Middle High German hagendorn, Old Norse hagthorn. See haw3, thorn
Related formshaw·thorn·y, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hawthorn

Historical Examples

  • The elms are in tenderest leaf, the hawthorn bursting into flower.

    The Conquest of Fear

    Basil King

  • The bottom of hawthorn hedges may be conveniently thickened, by putting in some plants of common sweet briar, or barberry.

  • I suppose there is no question but that all nice people like hawthorn blossom.

  • A remblai, also topped with hawthorn, lies a little to the north of this road.

    The Old Front Line

    John Masefield

  • There were hedges covered with hawthorn, and the scent of it reached us as we rushed past.


    George A. Birmingham

British Dictionary definitions for hawthorn


  1. any of various thorny trees or shrubs of the N temperate rosaceous genus Crataegus, esp C. oxyacantha, having white or pink flowers and reddish fruits (haws)Also called (in Britain): may, may tree, mayflower
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Word Origin

Old English haguthorn from haga hedge + thorn thorn; related to Old Norse hagthorn, Middle High German hagendorn, Dutch haagdoorn
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 hawthorn


Old English hagaþorn, earlier hæguþorn "hawthorn, white thorn," from obsolete haw "hedge or encompassing fence" (see haw) + thorn. A common Germanic name, cf. Middle Dutch and German hagedorn, Swedish hagtorn, Old Norse hagþorn.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper