Definition of medlar in US English:



  • 1A small, bushy tree of the rose family that bears small, brown, applelike fruits.

    "Mespilus germanica", family "Rosaceae"

    • ‘The largest is a cherry tree, which is pruned to keep it in check, and there are vines, peaches, medlar and mulberry bushes to provide fruit.’
    1. 1.1 The fruit of the medlar tree, which is edible only after it has begun to decay.
      • ‘There are plenty of colourful fruits about, including dessert, culinary and crab apples, pears and medlars.’
      • ‘Apples and pears and medlars hang heavy upon the boughs.’
      • ‘In the back are pots containing a fruit paradise of quinces, medlars, lemons, pomegranates, citrons, even a limequat that apparently makes a mean marmalade.’
      • ‘There were medlars, and apples, and quinces, and cherries, and I think many more that I could not name by their bark or tiny fruit.’
      • ‘Fruits include the indigenous melons, grapes, mulberries, peaches, apricots, nectarines, and pomegranates, as well as medlars, persimmons, oranges, melons, and sweet lemons.’


Late Middle English: from Old French medler, from medle ‘medlar fruit’, from Latin mespila, from Greek mespilē, mespilon.