Definition of bilberry in US English:



  • 1A small dark blue edible berry.

    • ‘So we slipped straight into a larch wood and then soon found a nice sunken track through Silpho Moor with beech and birch, heather and bilberry, and, having dropped out of the clouds, sweet views of Whisper Dales.’
    • ‘Below the scree - girt heights, pines, larches, birches and juniper grow in luxuriant profusion on a valley floor lush in green bracken, bilberry, cowberry and heather.’
    • ‘There's a rare ‘Green Lane’ sign, ground excavated by rabbits and drilled by miner bees, bilberry followed by heather, and you are on the tops.’
    • ‘In the shrub layer are green-leaf manzanita, bog bilberry, western azalea, and leather oak.’
    • ‘The bilberry bushes are just pushing through last year's flattened bracken and this year's rising heather.’
    • ‘It has spread, here and there, into wild rhododendrons and wild bilberries.’
    • ‘A long nose of a shrew quivered through a tussock of grass, heather and bilberry gave ground to flanks of oak woods vivid with bluebells, wild strawberries flowered in cracks.’
    • ‘We are in a side valley that you don't see from the main axis of Farndale, a roadless quiet, a place of stream and pale grasses, sphagnum moss, crags, heather and seas of bilberry.’
    • ‘Not only do the shaggy creatures trample down invasive bracken but they treat heather and bilberry with respect - unlike sheep, which munch the delicate shoots to extinction.’
    • ‘A slightly uneven surface is studded with irregular mossy rocks and covered with the northern European forest mixture of grass and creeping shrubs like bilberry.’
    • ‘Soon we hit the heather and the bilberry and entered the huge open access area that covers 16,000 acres to the south and east.’
    • ‘Leeds is to be linked with the bilberry, which grows on many of the moors surrounding the city and neighbouring Bradford.’
    • ‘Because rock climbers and others haven't bothered them they still have rare and precious toppings of bilberry and heather and adornment of mosses and lichens.’
    • ‘Plants such as birds-eye primrose, wild thyme, bilberry and the insectivorous butterwort will expand, creating spectacular landscapes.’
    • ‘Clearing the birch will help oak saplings and bilberries, ferns, mosses and lichens to prosper on the escarpment overlooking Nidderdale.’
    • ‘When the weather's fine there's excellent walking on a network of inland tracks that climb past peat-dark lakes through cloudberries, bilberries, saxifrage and reindeer moss, with eagles above and the occasional moose up ahead.’
    • ‘Clustered among the turning leaves were bilberries, cranberries, bog whortleberries, cloudberries and a dozen others, edible and poisonous.’
    • ‘The non-intensive moor was lovely with some hazy silver birch, vivid green mosses, rushes, bilberries, bleached and tufted grasses and a touch of gorse.’
    • ‘The snow pack was removed from four sample plots 1 m in size in a natural bilberry stand growing in a spruce forest in the vicinity of the Botanical Gardens on 14 March 2000.’
    • ‘We passed the most wonderfully invisible grouse butts buried in bilberries and discussed when the heather would be at its best.’
  • 2A hardy dwarf shrub closely related to the blueberry, with red drooping flowers and dark blue edible berries.

    Genus Vaccinium, family Ericaceae: several species, including the tundra bilberry (V. uliginosum)

    • ‘My face must have turned as blue as the ripe bilberries in summer.’
    • ‘The fruit of the bilberry plant is blue-black or purple and differs from the American blueberry in that the meat of the fruit is purple, rather than cream or white.’
    • ‘Berries - including blueberries, bilberries, strawberries, currants and cherries - contain a group of bioflavonoids known as anthocyanidins, which show specific benefits for the eye.’
    • ‘My husband read that the herb bilberry is good for the eyes.’
    • ‘The flavonoids can be found in bilberry, hawthorn, grape seed, and green tea, and in many fruits (especially citrus) and vegetables.’
    • ‘There are many remedies for diarrhea including coconut, dried bilberries and pomegranate juice.’
    • ‘Methyleugenol, a naturally occurring flavor in basil, cinnamon leaves, nutmeg, mace, pimento, bananas, black pepper, bilberries and blackberry essence.’
    • ‘When out walking the dogs, I'll often pop a cloudberry or a handful of bilberries into my mouth, but my real mission is to collect blueberries and cranberries.’
    • ‘The foods with the highest anthocyanin content are those with the darkest blue, purple or red coloring, such as bilberries, black raspberries, black currants, blackberries and blueberries.’
    • ‘Vivi EyeCe Cucumber Pads by Aurora contain not only a significant amount of cucumber but also chamomile, aloe, Japanese green tea and bilberry, among other powerful anti-inflammatories.’
    • ‘Through Madrid, La Rioja, Barcelona Tan's travellers might try sopa a la Riojana (a soup of lamb and haricot beans), goats' cheese with quince paste or the liqueur of bilberries and anise, pancharan.’
    • ‘So we celebrated with a little feast of bilberries and then sank on to the comfortable cushions of these shrubs for a celebratory snooze in the sunshine.’
    • ‘If your vision fails after dark, the European herb bilberry can make a noticeable short-term improvement in your sight, Winston says.’
    • ‘At Easter, we picked bilberries and my mum made lovely pies.’
    • ‘Most of Ecolution's fabrics are vegetable dyed with such botanicals as oregano, oak bark, bilberry and pansy to create a vivid palate of colors.’
    • ‘The black grouse has been in decline across Britain largely because of sheep eating the heather and bilberries they depend on.’
    • ‘They rubbed his eyes with bilberries that he might better see God.’
    • ‘Sweet fillings can be equally varied and may include apples, plums, cherries, pumpkin, bilberries, walnuts, poppyseed, or millet.’
    • ‘Not just the obvious things like fresh killed lamb and free range eggs but rabbits, the odd hare, a pheasant or two, plus the odd plump trout from the beck, field mushrooms from Hard Rock Farm and bilberries from the side of Tup Fell.’
    • ‘That's a lot to expect from waffles that have maybe two blueberries each and more salt than elderberries or bilberries.’


Late 16th century: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare with Danish bøllebær.