Definition of heather in English:



  • 1A purple-flowered Eurasian heath that grows abundantly on moorland and heathland. Many ornamental varieties have been developed.

    Also called ling
    • ‘Around the rock rested an expansive wreath of heathers and rhododendrons.’
    • ‘Containers can be given a new lease of life by replacing these plants with autumn and winter specimens such as pansies, winter-flowering heathers, hardy cyclamen and evergreen ivies.’
    • ‘Rhododendrons, most heathers, camellias, pieris, skimmia, citrus and many others must have acid soil.’
    • ‘Groundcover plantings of smoky mauve heathers come alive in spring with surrounding sweeps of cobalt blue grape hyacinths.’
    • ‘You can use a combination of plants: primulas, cyclamen, heathers and ivy are all useful for winter colour.’
    • ‘This is beautifully landscaped and laid out so the customer can see what the heathers, conifers and shrubs he is planning to buy will look like in a garden.’
    • ‘Litter is a foreign word and the flower beds are immaculate as the heathers and shrubs thrive in the winter weather with the daffodils lurking beneath the surface.’
    • ‘Have you ever investigated all the available varieties of heaths and heathers?’
    • ‘Another simple and instant solution would be to plant up twin containers with a combination of dwarf conifers and winter-flowering heathers that come in every shade from white through pink to dark red.’
    • ‘In February and March, heathers and hellebores kick off Annemarie's garden's flowering season, which continues until late in the year.’
    • ‘They do not need a wall and are happy to scramble over heathers, conifers, trees or hedges.’
    • ‘Tolerant of cold winds and frost, its height makes it an ideal pot plant in a mixed bed of carpeting heathers and ground-covering conifers.’
    • ‘‘It's ideal for plants that are acid lovers, such as rhododendron, azaleas and heathers, and it's also weed-free,’ he said.’
    • ‘We especially liked the colorful heathers and the brilliant Japanese maples.’
    • ‘It's a shared space and has heathers, ferns, gorse and many wild flowers (not at this time of year) growing on it.’
    • ‘A third of it is open heathland, carpeted with purple heathers and spotted yellow with gorse.’
    • ‘Skimmias also like to grow in slightly acid soil, making them superb companions for the heathers and ivies of your choice.’
    • ‘Asters look fabulous combined with gold variegated trailing ivies and heathers with lime-green or flame coloured foliage.’
    • ‘Its edge sliced the crisp air, graceful as its owner that stepped and leapt, feral across the ground, through the low purple heathers and verdant mosses.’
    • ‘Also, who is a good supplier of a variety of heathers that give a display all year round?’
    1. 1.1informal Any plant of the "Ericaceae" family similar to heather; a heath.


Old English hadre, hedre (recorded in place names), of unknown origin. The word was chiefly Scots until the 16th century; the change in the first syllable in the 18th century was due to association with heath.