[ this-uh l ]
/ ˈθɪs əl /


any of various prickly, composite plants having showy, purple flower heads, especially of the genera Cirsium, Carduus, or Onopordum.
any of various other prickly plants.

Nearby words

  1. this side of,
  2. this'll,
  3. this-worldliness,
  4. thisaway,
  5. thisbe,
  6. thistle butterfly,
  7. thistle tube,
  8. thistledown,
  9. thistly,
  10. thither

Origin of thistle

before 900; Middle English thistel, Old English; cognate with Dutch distel, German Distel, Old Norse thistill

Related formsthis·tle·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thistle

British Dictionary definitions for thistle


/ (ˈθɪsəl) /


any of numerous plants of the genera Cirsium, Carduus, and related genera, having prickly-edged leaves, pink, purple, yellow, or white dense flower heads, and feathery hairs on the seeds: family Asteraceae (composites)
a thistle, or a representation of one, as the national emblem of Scotland
Derived Formsthistly, adjective

Word Origin for thistle

Old English thīstel, related to Old Saxon, Old High German thīstil, Old Norse thīstill


/ (ˈθɪsəl) /

noun the Thistle

(sometimes not capital)
  1. the emblem of this Order
  2. membership of this Order
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 thistle



prickly herbaceous plant, Old English þistel, from Proto-Germanic *thikhstula (cf. Old High German distil, German Distel, Old Norse þistell, Danish tidsel), of unknown origin. Emblem of Scotland since 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper