• synonyms


See more synonyms for sloe on Thesaurus.com
  1. the small, sour, blackish fruit of the blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, of the rose family.
  2. the shrub itself.
  3. any of various other plants of the genus Prunus, as a shrub or small tree, P. alleghaniensis, bearing dark-purple fruit.
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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. 2018

Related Words

jet, slate, onyx, coal, sable, pitch, brunet, ebony, clouded, charcoal, sloe, obsidian, raven, jetty, dingy, dusky, livid, murky, shadowy, somber

Examples from the Web for sloe

Historical Examples

  • The effect of a couple of large glasses of sloe gin was quickly apparent.


    J. Storer Clouston

  • The entire plant is used for much the same purposes as the sloe.

  • The manufacture of sloe gin is as simple as that of cherry brandy.

    Cakes & Ale

    Edward Spencer

  • It feeds on hawthorn chiefly, but sometimes on sloe, plum, etc.

  • Nature, in inventing the wild grape, has been as generous as in her gift of the sloe.

British Dictionary definitions for sloe


  1. the small sour blue-black fruit of the blackthorn
  2. another name for blackthorn
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Word Origin

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


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper