Definition of buckthorn in English:



  • 1A shrub or small tree of the buckthorn family, typically bearing thorns. Some kinds yield dyes, and others have been used medicinally.

    • ‘These herbal teas typically include senna, aloe, buckthorn and other plant-derived laxatives.’
    • ‘It requires two species of host plant to complete its life cycle: common buckthorn and soybean.’
    • ‘Minqin also planted ramparts of rose willow, buckthorn and other deep-root trees in a 200-mile file along the desert fronts.’
    • ‘The jujube (pronounced juh-ju-bee or juh-juh-bee) is a member of the buckthorn family, or Rhamnaceae.’
    • ‘We do not recommend strong laxatives such as senna or buckthorn for you.’
  • 2A shrub or small tree of the sapodilla family, with sharp thorns and clusters of small white flowers, commonly found in moist soils of the southern and central US.

    • ‘The surprising thing was the field was quite far from any buckthorn where aphids might have over-wintered.’
    • ‘Both Ives Road Fen and Hillside Prairie have large populations of glossy buckthorn, cattails (Typha L. spp.), and purple loosestrife (C. Clampitt pers. comm.).’
    • ‘Tending gardens and farms amongst such lushness, I was tested by tenacious Himalayan blackberry, sharp buckthorn, and deep rooted, heavy seeded, curly dock.’
    • ‘Thirty hours after we set off, we encounter our final test, orienteering through buckthorn, insidious brush that's nicknamed Big Bear Barbwire.’
    • ‘Multiple generations of wingless female aphids are produced on soybeans until late summer/fall, when winged females and males are produced that migrate back to buckthorn, where they mate.’


Late 16th century: from buck in the sense ‘deer’ + thorn, translating modern Latin spina cervina.