• synonyms


  1. a tall herb, Phytolacca americana, of North America, having juicy purple berries and a purple root used in medicine, and young edible shoots resembling asparagus.
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Origin of pokeweed

An Americanism dating back to 1745–55; poke4 + weed1
Also called poke·root [pohk-root, -roo t] /ˈpoʊkˌrut, -ˌrʊt/, scoke, garget.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pokeweed

Historical Examples

  • Is there anywhere a more audacious beauty than the pokeweed in autumn?

    In the Open

    Stanton Davis Kirkham

  • Pokeweed is a native American, and what a lusty, royal plant it is!

    A Year in the Fields

    John Burroughs

  • Rivina, ri-vī′na, n. a genus of apetalous plants, the pokeweed family.

  • A few tufts of elder, with here and there a patch of briers and pokeweed, flourished in the gravelly soil.

    Peter Parley's Own Story

    Samuel G. Goodrich

  • The pokeweed berries will color a good red,” continued Mrs. Scott; “but for scarlet we must use the dogwood roots.

    A Little Maid of Ticonderoga

    Alice Turner Curtis

British Dictionary definitions for pokeweed


pokeberry or pokeroot

  1. a tall North American plant, Phytolacca americana, that has small white flowers, juicy purple berries, and a poisonous purple root used medicinally: family PhytolaccaceaeSometimes shortened to: poke Also called: inkberry
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Word Origin

C18 poke, shortened from Algonquian puccoon plant used in dyeing, from pak blood
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