Definition of buckthorn in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbəkTHôrn/


1A shrub or small tree of the buckthorn family, typically bearing thorns. Some kinds yield dyes, and others have been used medicinally.
  • Genus Rhamnus, family Rhamnaceae: several species, including the European common buckthorn (R. cathartica), now established in the northeastern and central US, and the Carolina buckthorn (R. caroliniana) of the southern US.
Example sentences
  • We do not recommend strong laxatives such as senna or buckthorn for you.
  • It requires two species of host plant to complete its life cycle: common buckthorn and soybean.
  • These herbal teas typically include senna, aloe, buckthorn and other plant-derived laxatives.
2 (also buckthorn bumelia) A shrub or small tree of the sapodilla family, with sharp thorns and clusters of small white flowers, commonly found in moist soils of the southern and central US.
  • Bumelia lycioides, family Sapotaceae.
Example sentences
  • Multiple generations of wingless female aphids are produced on soybeans until late summer/fall, when winged females and males are produced that migrate back to buckthorn, where they mate.
  • The surprising thing was the field was quite far from any buckthorn where aphids might have over-wintered.
  • Tending gardens and farms amongst such lushness, I was tested by tenacious Himalayan blackberry, sharp buckthorn, and deep rooted, heavy seeded, curly dock.


Late 16th century: from buck1 in the sense 'deer' + thorn, translating modern Latin spina cervina.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: buck·thorn

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