Definition of thistle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈTHisəl/


Image of thistle
1A widely distributed herbaceous plant of the daisy family, which typically has a prickly stem and leaves and rounded heads of purple flowers.
  • Carlina, Cirsium, Carduus, and other genera, family Compositae: numerous species, including bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) and nodding (or musk) thistle (Carduus nutans).
Example sentences
  • It attacks the thistle's leaves and stem, forming orange-brown lumps called pustules.
  • It is a tall plant up to 3ft high and the flower head is just as prickly as a thistle.
  • These so-called host plants include many broadleaf weeds and cover crops such as nettles, mallow, chicory, dandelion, thistles, bindweed, deadly nightshade, and many clovers.
2A thistle as the Scottish national emblem.
  • This is usually identified as the Scotch (or cotton) thistle (Onopordum acanthium).
Example sentences
  • Also known as cotton thistle, it is native to Mediterranean Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
  • The images of the Scottish thistle, the lion rampant, and the Saint Andrew's cross on the national flags come from that period.
  • The buttonholes worn by the groom and best man were made from an English rose and a Scottish thistle.



Pronunciation: /ˈTHis(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Sean, with his winning blond thistly spikes, seemed to be more the focal point, both vocally and visually than before, while Ben took on the role of backing vocals and threw some poses, which were mirrored by the crowd.
  • It's a dreich and miserable place, a landscape of abandoned fridges and cookers, a windswept, unkempt, thistly moor.


Old English thistel, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch distel and German Distel.

Words that rhyme with thistle

abyssal, bristle, epistle, gristle, missal, scissel, whistle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: this·tle

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