[ milk-weed ]
/ ˈmɪlkˌwid /


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.

Nearby words

  1. milkman,
  2. milko,
  3. milkshed,
  4. milksop,
  5. milktoast,
  6. milkweed beetle,
  7. milkweed bug,
  8. milkweed butterfly,
  9. milkweed family,
  10. milkweed tortoise beetle

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

British Dictionary definitions for milkweed


/ (ˈmɪlkˌwiːd) /


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