Definition of prickly pear in English:

Share this entry

prickly pear

Pronunciation: /ˈprik(ə)lē pe(ə)r/


Image of prickly pear
1A cactus with jointed stems and oval flattened segments, having barbed bristles and large pear-shaped, prickly fruits.
  • Genus Opuntia, family Cactaceae: several species, in particular O. humifusa of North America and O. ficus-indica, which is cultivated for its fruit and has become naturalized in the Mediterranean.
Example sentences
  • We are rich with saguaros, prickly pear, and cholla cacti, and palo verde, and mesquite trees.
  • But still you'd bump into a prickly pear or cholla cactus and have to stop and pull the thorns out of person's leg or shoe.
  • In the gardens are lemon and lime trees, prickly pear cactus plants, fig trees and ornamental palms.
1.1The edible orange or red fruit of the prickly pear.
Example sentences
  • I stole a pumpkin a few days back from the garden… It's feeding me, as are chard and avocados, a few prickly pears, and oranges.
  • And what about Mexico, where eighty species of Opuntia support a cochineal dye industry and are the source of edible prickly pear fruit?
  • Among the other hits here are a graceful Caesar salad and a first course of lean, intense boar ribs perched over an interesting, not sickeningly sweet glaze infused with juice from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: prick·ly pear

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.