Definition of samphire in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsamˌfī(ə)r/


1 (also rock samphire) A European plant of the parsley family that grows on rocks and cliffs by the sea. Its aromatic, fleshy leaves were formerly much used in pickles.
  • Crithmum maritimum, family Umbelliferae.
Example sentences
  • Marsh samphire is more salty than rock samphire and does not have the same powerful aroma.
  • The chef's special was Brochettes of scallops and prawn on a bed of green leaves and samphire grass.
  • Add the remaining olive oil to the same pan, then add the samphire.
2 (also marsh samphire) another term for glasswort.
Example sentences
  • The salt marshes support cord grass, marsh samphire and sea purslane.
  • As she observed, it would have been a great convenience if everyone had agreed long ago to call marsh samphire by its alternative name glasswort (given because it used to be burned to provide alkali for glass-makers).
  • The subfamily Salicornioideae Kostel., more commonly known as samphires or glassworts, are characterized by their distinctive reduced succulent leaves, which may be modified to form an articulated, photosynthetic stem.


Mid 16th century (earlier as sampiere): from French (herbe de) Saint Pierre 'St. Peter(’s herb)'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sam·phire

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