[ roo-bahrb ]
See synonyms for rhubarb on Thesaurus.com
  1. any of several plants belonging to the genus Rheum, of the buckwheat family, as R. officinale, having a medicinal rhizome, and R. rhabarbarum, having edible leafstalks.

  2. the rhizome of any medicinal species of this plant, forming a combined cathartic and astringent.

  1. the edible, fleshy leafstalks of R. rhabarbarum, used in making pies, preserves, etc.

  2. Slang. a quarrel or squabble.

Origin of rhubarb

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English rubarb, reubarb, from Old French r(e)ubarbe, from Medieval Latin reubarbarum, from Greek rhéon bárbaron “foreign rhubarb”

Words Nearby rhubarb

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How to use rhubarb in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for rhubarb


/ (ˈruːbɑːb) /

  1. any of several temperate and subtropical plants of the polygonaceous genus Rheum, esp R. rhaponticum (common garden rhubarb), which has long green and red acid-tasting edible leafstalks, usually eaten sweetened and cooked

  2. the leafstalks of this plant

  1. a related plant, Rheum officinale, of central Asia, having a bitter-tasting underground stem that can be dried and used medicinally as a laxative or astringent

  2. US and Canadian slang a heated discussion or quarrel

  3. the noise made by actors to simulate conversation, esp by repeating the word rhubarb at random

  1. to simulate conversation, esp by repeating the word rhubarb at random

Origin of rhubarb

C14: from Old French reubarbe, from Medieval Latin reubarbum, probably a variant of rha barbarum barbarian rhubarb, from rha rhubarb (from Greek, perhaps from Rha ancient name of the Volga) + Latin barbarus barbarian

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