rhubarb

[roo-bahrb]
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noun
  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.
  3. the edible, fleshy leafstalks of R. rhabarbarum, used in making pies, preserves, etc.
  4. Slang. a quarrel or squabble.

Origin of rhubarb

1350–1400; Middle English rubarb, reubarb < Old French r(e)ubarbe < Medieval Latin reubarbarum < Greek rhéon bárbaron foreign rhubarb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for rhubarb

discussion, argument, controversy, hassle, dispute, quarrel

Examples from the Web for rhubarb

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British Dictionary definitions for rhubarb

rhubarb

noun
  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
  3. 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
  4. US and Canadian slang a heated discussion or quarrel
  5. the noise made by actors to simulate conversation, esp by repeating the word rhubarb at random
verb
  1. to simulate conversation, esp by repeating the word rhubarb at random

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for rhubarb
n.

late 14c., from Old French rubarbe, from Medieval Latin rheubarbarum, from Greek rha barbaron "foreign rhubarb," from rha "rhubarb," perhaps ultimately from a source akin to Persian rewend "rhubarb" (associated in Greek with Rha, ancient Scythian name of the River Volga) + barbaron, neuter of barbaros "foreign" (see barbarian). Grown in China and Tibet, it was imported into ancient Europe by way of Russia.

Spelling altered in Medieval Latin by association with rheum. European native species so called from 1640s. Baseball slang meaning "loud squabble on the field" is from 1938, of unknown origin, said to have been first used by broadcaster Garry Schumacher. Perhaps connected with use of rhubarb as a word repeated by stage actors to give the impression of hubbub or conversation (attested from 1934).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper