• synonyms


  1. a Eurasian plant, Onobrychis viciifolia, of the legume family, having pinnate leaves and clusters of pink flowers, used for forage.
Show More

Origin of sainfoin

1620–30; < French, equivalent to Middle French sain (< Latin sānus healthy) + foin (< Latin fēnum, faenum hay)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sainfoin

Historical Examples

  • The time to cut it is, as with clover and sainfoin, when it is in early flower.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 17, Slice 1


  • It feeds on the wild heartsease, also on sainfoin and borage.

    British Butterfiles

    W. S. Coleman

  • Sainfoin, as already intimated, is perennial in its habit of growth.

  • The feeding value of sainfoin is much the same as that of alfalfa.

  • The methods for making alfalfa hay will apply also to sainfoin.

British Dictionary definitions for sainfoin


  1. a Eurasian perennial leguminous plant, Onobrychis viciifolia, widely grown as a forage crop, having pale pink flowers and curved pods
Show More

Word Origin

C17: from French, from Medieval Latin sānum faenum wholesome hay, referring to its former use as a medicine
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