Definition of barberry in English:


nounPlural barberries

  • A spiny shrub which typically has yellow flowers and red berries, frequently grown for ornamental hedging.

    Genus Berberis, family Berberidaceae: many species

    • ‘Plants such as privet or barberry need severe pruning immediately after planting and at the beginning of the second year to make them bushy.’
    • ‘And then there are the usual green plants with red berries such as hollies and barberry, and old garden roses with showy hips.’
    • ‘Swirling robins and starlings competed for the red berries of the barberry and the blue berries of the privet.’
    • ‘Grow thorny plants like agave, barberry, cactus, Natal plum, and yucca under rear windows.’
    • ‘Evans sees tree of heaven and Japanese barberry, garlic mustard and stilt grass invading the heart of the forest.’
    • ‘Although the California fan palm is the major attraction, another rarity is the Kofa barberry, a three-foot-tall shrub known only from the Kofa Mountains and from the Ajo Mountains, farther south.’
    • ‘Others feature one or several of tomatoes, garlic, barberries, grapes, pomegranates, and yoghurt.’
    • ‘The barberry bushes have bright red little berries for all the world like Redhot candies.’
    • ‘We cut through the Japanese barberry with clippers to get to a wet area.’
    • ‘They are also attracted by the berries on the holly and some of the dogwoods and barberries around the yard, as well as the flowers with seedpods that I left for them in the main garden.’
    • ‘At three o'clock Gates served dinner: onion soup followed by breast of veal delicately flavoured with nutmeg and garnished with barberries and slices of lemon.’
    • ‘Rugged shrubs like barberry and potentilla give the garden permanent structure, while the rocks help protect the plants from searing winds and keep the soil from drying out.’
    • ‘When plants such as barberry, grapevine, ornamental grasses, and smoke bush are in their full glory, they create a garden's final drama of the year.’
    • ‘Along the lakefront a curving sweep of barberry and daylilies terminated at gazebos overarched by old apple and willow trees.’
    • ‘Dwarf barberry has reddish-purple foliage in sun.’
    • ‘Branches of viburnum, holly, and barberry offer architectural grace notes and still other means for signaling the season.’
    • ‘They had us taste one of the delicious syrups they made and bottled last summer, and Susanne brought out a jar of her Aprikose Berberitze jam, made with apricot and barberries.’
    • ‘Using a relatively simple method to fight a potentially deadly problem, Union Pacific will plant hundreds of prickly rose bushes and barberries along its North Line this week to prevent trespassers from crossing its tracks.’
    • ‘As Graham stood on the top of the wooden step ladders, trimming away at the box, and the barberry that tangled into it, he glanced down at the cat.’
    • ‘I substitute dried cherries or cranberries for barberries.’


Late Middle English: from Old French berberis (see berberis). The change in the ending was due to association with berry.