• synonyms

horse chestnut

  1. a tree, Aesculus hippocastanum, native to the Old World, having digitate leaves and upright clusters of white flowers.
  2. the shiny, brown, nutlike seed of this tree or of other trees of the genus Aesculus.
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Origin of horse chestnut

1590–1600; translation of New Latin castanea equīna; so named from its use in treating respiratory diseases of horses
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for horse-chestnut

Historical Examples

  • And the apple-tree and the horse-chestnut and the elm—of course I like them.

    The Very Small Person

    Annie Hamilton Donnell

  • Soon the wistaria would bloom, then the horse-chestnut; but not for her.

  • They are as sticky as horse-chestnut buds, and much nicer to eat.

    The Magic City

    Edith Nesbit

  • She was perched on one of the highest branches of a horse-chestnut tree.

    Lalage's Lovers

    George A. Birmingham

  • The horse-chestnut you mention in the garden was planted by my mother.

British Dictionary definitions for horse-chestnut

horse chestnut

  1. any of several trees of the genus Aesculus, esp the Eurasian A. hippocastanum, having palmate leaves, erect clusters of white, pink, or red flowers, and brown shiny inedible nuts enclosed in a spiky bur: family Hippocastanaceae
  2. Also called: conker the nut of this tree
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Word Origin

C16: so called from its having been used in the treatment of respiratory disease in horses
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 horse-chestnut


1590s, from horse + chestnut. A tree probably native to Asia, introduced in England c.1550; the name also was extended to similar North American species such as the buckeye. Said to have been so called because it was food for horses. The nut resembles that of the edible chestnut but is bitter to the taste.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper