Definition of hackberry in US English:



  • 1A tree of the elm family that has leaves resembling those of nettles, found in both tropical and temperate regions.

    Genus "Celtis", family "Ulmaceae": several species, in particular the North American hackberry ("C. occidentalis"), which bears edible purple berries and whose bark becomes ridged and covered with warty knobs

    See also nettle tree
    • ‘Also fairly common are bluejack oak, netleaf hackberry, honey mesquite, and prickly ash.’
    • ‘In addition to the oaks, the city lost wax myrtles, hackberries, weeping willows and magnolias.’
    • ‘Some of the primary plants for butterfly larvae include: aspen, alfalfa, clover, nettle, pearly everlasting, milkweed, grasses, hackberry, parsley, vetch, and willow.’
    • ‘Walnut trees can also grow in small groups or as scattered specimens mixed with American elm, hackberry, boxelder, sugar maple, green and white ash, basswood, red oak, and hickory.’
    • ‘He promotes the planting of trees indigenous to southern Ontario that provide large canopies such as the sugar maple, red oak, hackberry and black walnut.’
    1. 1.1 The berry of the hackberry tree.
      • ‘Wild fruits such as hackberries and grapes supplemented the diet.’
      • ‘While the inhabitants of the cave probably consumed hackberries and grapes as fruits, the remaining seed present are likely incidental.’
      • ‘The earliest inhabitants of the cave utilized the entrance chamber from autumn to winter, as evidenced by a reliance on the fall nut mast, such as hickory and walnut, and wild fruits such as hackberry.’
      • ‘So when you eat the hackberries, wash them first.’
      • ‘In spring they also eat hackberries here, but this year the supply had been exhausted in early winter.’


Mid 18th century: variant of northern English dialect hagberry, of Scandinavian origin.