One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A tobacco pipe made from nodules borne at ground level by a large woody plant of the heath family.
tobacco pipe, briar, briar pipe, meerschaum, clay pipeView synonyms
- ‘Every man present had filled his clay or briar pipes with good Virginia tobacco.’
- ‘The Centenier finished his coffee, while Holmes selected and filled his briar pipe.’
- ‘The briar pipe continued to epitomise solid, dependable, common sense masculinity.’
2The white-flowered shrub of the heath family that bears these nodules, native chiefly to France and Corsica.
Erica arborea, family Ericaceae
Mid 19th century: from French bruyère ‘heath, heather’, from medieval Latin brucus.
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