[sam-fahyuh r]
  1. a European succulent plant, Crithmum maritimum, of the parsley family, having compound leaves and small, whitish flowers, growing in clefts of rock near the sea.
  2. glasswort.

Origin of samphire

1535–45; earlier sampiere < Middle French (herbe de) Saint Pierre (herb of) Saint Peter Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for samphire

Historical Examples of samphire

  • Sea spleenwort and masses of 113 samphire grew on the cliffs to his right.

  • Mother said he'd take the samphire by boat to Fellness, and I thought perhaps he'd take me too.

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie

  • They got across the sands with their samphire, just as Coomber and Bob were springing ashore.

    A Sailor's Lass

    Emma Leslie

  • There was no tuft of samphire to brush her face as she descended.

    In the Roar of the Sea

    Sabine Baring-Gould

  • The samphire is there still—the crithmum maritimum, or cranagh.

British Dictionary definitions for samphire


  1. Also called: rock samphire an umbelliferous plant, Crithmum maritimum, of Eurasian coasts, having fleshy divided leaves and clusters of small greenish-white flowers
  2. golden samphire a Eurasian coastal plant, Inula crithmoides, with fleshy leaves and yellow flower heads: family Asteraceae (composites)
  3. another name for glasswort (def. 1)
  4. any of several other plants of coastal areas

Word Origin for samphire

C16 sampiere, from French herbe de Saint Pierre Saint Peter's herb; perhaps influenced by camphire camphor
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