Definition of bulrush in English:


(also bullrush)


  • 1A tall rushlike water plant of the sedge family. Native to temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, it has been widely used for weaving and is grown as an aid to water purification in some areas.

    • ‘On the way we discovered fossils buried on the bank, frightened the geese, met a dog called Ronnie, picked tall bullrushes and got thoroughly lost in the undergrowth trying to find the path.’
    • ‘Plants like cattails, bulrushes, jewelweed, and the lovely cardinal flower do best with alternating wet and dry periods, and survive flooding as long as most of the leaves are out of the water.’
    • ‘The nests are usually located on dry land close to water, in areas with dense cover, especially bulrush.’
    • ‘Nests are made of grass, and are usually lashed to cattails, bulrushes, or other emergent vegetation close to the water.’
    • ‘Foot by foot, inch by inch, it was coming closer to the quiet back water where I was standing waist deep among the bulrushes.’
    • ‘Its dried-up canals have been taken over by the Typha australis bulrush, said Asuquo-Obot, who has been doing research on the macrophytic vegetation of large lakes.’
    • ‘Norma Keane studied water flowers such as white water lilies and bulrushes while Darren Roache enjoyed completing his work on crustaceans.’
    • ‘The most frequently emergent macrophytes used are reeds, bulrushes, cattails, rushes and sedges.’
    • ‘Delicate lily-pads had been carefully placed on the glassy mirror of a thousand reflections, and clumps of reeds, bullrushes and gorse made forty-one shades of green.’
    • ‘The female builds the nest, which is a bulky, open cup made of leaves, stems, and grass, and lashed to cattails, bulrushes, or other plants growing over the water.’
    • ‘A flaring sunset touches the trees with colours of flame and molten copper; reddens even the bullrushes and the ropes of ivy which drift, among their own reflections, in the river.’
    • ‘Visitors are especially intrigued by the large frog pond, complete with real frogs, pollywogs, bog plants, bulrushes, pickerel and water lilies, adjacent to the winery tasting room and cellars.’
    • ‘Cattails and bulrushes are especially efficient at absorbing large quantities of nitrogen and phosphorous, substances easily transported in runoff.’
    • ‘These are built of stalks and leaves of bulrushes, flag, and reed-mace and reed.’
    • ‘As the lake recedes, it gives an increasing foothold to ‘emergents’ - cattails, bulrushes and other plant species that grow at the water's edge.’
    • ‘Their houses are constructed of bulrushes, weeds and packed mud, with separate sleeping platforms for each member of the family.’
    • ‘Canvasbacks and redheads will nest over water using emergent plants, such as cattails and bulrushes.’
    • ‘A glossy ibis waded between the bulrushes and black swallows dipped in and out of the water.’
    • ‘Cattails and bulrushes will replace the invasive phragmites that have choked the waterways.’
    • ‘Or climate warming could be accelerating the rate at which marsh plants such as cattails, bulrushes, and sedges invade ponds and convert them to meadows.’
  • 2

    another term for cattail
  • 3(in biblical use) a papyrus plant.

    • ‘Worked in silk on silk, it depicts Moses in the bullrushes, a subject that Vanderpoel's research suggested had been worked at the school, but no example of which bad come to light.’
    • ‘The biblical story of Moses records that, in order to avoid the persecution of the Pharaoh, Moses' parents concealed him by the river in an ark of bulrushes, from which he was rescued by the Pharaoh's daughter.’
    • ‘The open basket can be compared to the arc of bulrushes into which Moses was cast by his Hebrew mother ‘when she could no longer hide him’.’
    • ‘Tiny, 3-month-old Moses lies in his basket of papyrus and pitch, resting in the bulrushes, just at the point of discovery.’
    • ‘David's abandonment in the forest primeval is also his deliverance from destruction, Moses left in the bulrushes.’
    • ‘And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.’
    • ‘They thought that they would die, but there might be a chance that the baby's cooler would float and that - like Moses in the bulrushes - the baby would be found and saved.’
    • ‘Studying it, I finally grasped the connection between the story of the bulrushes and Moses' death before entering the Promised Land.’
    • ‘She just appeared one day, like Moses in the bulrushes.’
    • ‘This new king became known as the Pharaoh of the Oppression, and it was during his time that the story of the infant Moses in the bulrushes is set.’


Late Middle English: probably from bull in the sense large or coarse as in words such as bullfrog.