sloe

[sloh]

noun

the small, sour, blackish fruit of the blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, of the rose family.
the shrub itself.
any of various other plants of the genus Prunus, as a shrub or small tree, P. alleghaniensis, bearing dark-purple fruit.

Origin of sloe

before 900; Middle English slo, Old English slā(h); cognate with German Schlehe, Dutch slee
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


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British Dictionary definitions for sloe

sloe

noun

the small sour blue-black fruit of the blackthorn
another name for blackthorn

Word Origin for sloe

Old English slāh; related to Old High German slēha, Middle Dutch sleuuwe
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 sloe
n.

fruit of the blackthorn, Old English slah (plural slan), from Proto-Germanic *slaikhwon (cf. Middle Dutch sleeu, Dutch slee, Old High German sleha, German Schlehe), from PIE *sleie- "blue, bluish, blue-black" (see livid).

The vowel has been influenced by that in the old plural form, which according to OED persisted into the 17c. Scottish slae preserves the older vowel. Sloe-eyed is attested from 1804; sloe gin first recorded 1878.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper