any of several plants that secrete a milky juice or latex, especially those of the genus Asclepias, as A. syriaca.Compare milkweed family.
any of various other plants having a milky juice, as certain spurges.

Origin of milkweed

First recorded in 1590–1600; milk + weed1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for milkweed

Contemporary Examples of milkweed

Historical Examples of milkweed

  • What a singular decree has Nature declared with reference to the milkweed!

    My Studio Neighbors

    William Hamilton Gibson

  • But its method of capture is somewhat similar to the milkweed.

    My Studio Neighbors

    William Hamilton Gibson

  • Look at the seeds of the boneset, joe-pye-weed, milkweed, and goldenrod!

    The Fall of the Year

    Dallas Lore Sharp

  • Other men padded saddles with milkweed and sewed and polished leather.

    When the Owl Cries

    Paul Bartlett

  • The cotton from the milkweed, then called 'silk-grass,' was used for pillows and cushions.

    The Historical Child

    Oscar Chrisman

British Dictionary definitions for milkweed



Also called: silkweed any plant of the mostly North American genus Asclepias, having milky sap and pointed pods that split open to release tufted seeds: family AsclepiadaceaeSee also asclepias
any of various other plants having milky sap
orange milkweed another name for butterfly weed
another name for monarch (def. 3)
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 milkweed

1590s, from milk (n.) + weed (n.); used in reference to various plants whose juice resembles milk.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper