Definition of buckthorn in English:

Share this entry


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.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.