• synonyms

prickly pear

  1. any of numerous cacti of the genus Opuntia, having flattened, usually spiny stem joints, yellow, orange, or reddish flowers, and ovoid, often edible fruit.
  2. the usually prickly fruit of such a cactus.
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Origin of prickly pear

First recorded in 1605–15
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prickly pear

Historical Examples

  • Mexican culture was no more Egyptian culture than a prickly-pear is a lotus.

    The Discovery of America Vol. 1 (of 2)

    John Fiske.

  • Next came a hedge of prickly-pear; she turned her head away from this in disgust.


    Cynthia Stockley

  • It was a flat region with a poor growth of mesquite and prickly-pear cactus.

  • I told my comrades I would wait for them among the prickly-pear plants until the moon should be full.

  • A man who could run barefooted in the snow through a prickly-pear patch was surely a "tough one."

    An Autobiography of Buffalo Bill (Colonel W. F. Cody)

    Buffalo Bill (William Frederick Cody)

British Dictionary definitions for prickly pear

prickly pear

  1. any of various tropical cacti of the genus Opuntia, having flattened or cylindrical spiny joints and oval fruit that is edible in some speciesSee also cholla, nopal (def. 2)
  2. the fruit of any of these plants
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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