Definition of weed in US English:



  • 1A wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.

    • ‘Just like our garden plants, weeds have certain preferences for growing conditions.’
    • ‘Spread wheat straw mulch over your garden in February to keep weeds at bay.’
    • ‘Write down which plants were infected with diseases and where the weeds grew most.’
    • ‘A site that will not grow other plants and weeds or has some type of soil problem will probably not be ideal for wildflowers.’
    • ‘The lawn was well-kept, but still a bit wild, with weeds and poorly pruned brushes lining the walkway up the hill.’
    • ‘He says that the group had been working hard to improve the area around the sawmill dam by tackling the jungle of weeds, brambles and nettles that had grown up through years of neglect.’
    • ‘They hide during the day under mulch, plant debris, rocks, boards, weeds, and ground covers.’
    • ‘Given the right conditions many will grow like weeds, seeding freely around.’
    • ‘It doesn't look at if it's been used for some time, as a small jungle of bushes, nettles and weeds have grown up around it.’
    • ‘There are several small varieties that grow wild as weeds in North America.’
    • ‘Honeysuckle will quickly cover everything in its path, choking out weeds as it grows.’
    • ‘This will help prevent weeds from growing, and additionally will feed your soil slowly over time.’
    • ‘The best time to eliminate weeds and grass is the season before you plan to plant your garden.’
    • ‘But Mr Merritt said horsetail could be a troublesome weed in any crop.’
    • ‘Raised on a farm in the eastern part of North Carolina, Jo grew up pulling weeds in her mother's cutting garden.’
    • ‘Mike already has a layer of wood chip mulch in place around his plants to keep down weeds and conserve moisture.’
    • ‘Nests are open cups made of weeds, grass, plant fibers, and moss, with a lining of fur and feathers.’
    • ‘Typically, herbicides are applied only to the strip of ground directly under the vine, and weeds growing between the rows are controlled by cultivation or mowing.’
    • ‘Clear all the weeds and grass from the area you intend to cover to prevent them from growing up through the mulch.’
    • ‘The courtyard is cluttered with potted plants, half of them dead or dying, with weeds growing around the pots and covering most of the small yard.’
    1. 1.1 Any wild plant growing in salt or fresh water.
      • ‘The west bank is more sandy and shallow with weed growing, and the opposite bank more rocky and deeper.’
      • ‘It has been listed as one of the 100 worst invasive alien species in the world, and it is considered the second most serious weed in the South Pacific.’
      • ‘At the moment there is deeper water and reasonable floating weed cover in one area, so the Jacanas have not left.’
      • ‘This weed can grow in ten to fifteen feet of water or more from top to bottom and seems to be impossible to fish in.’
      • ‘The weed impedes water's natural flow and can destroy native communities of aquatic plants and animals.’
      • ‘I woke to find Graham out in the garden carrying out some much needed maintenance on the fish pond, topping it up with fresh water and pulling out some weed.’
      • ‘From a distance, this appears to be the mottled brown of old brick, but as I get closer I see that there is a coating of fine brown weed.’
      • ‘But, no, they just sat deep in the bottom, sheltering under the great mass of oxygenating weed that's grown from three strands in less than a year, and gulped.’
      • ‘Move over hydrilla, there's a bigger, meaner invasive aquatic weed in town.’
      • ‘There's plenty of weed growing around them, and although not particularly pleasant to look at, among its folds you will see plenty of hovering juvenile pike.’
      • ‘By now summer is under way, the weed is growing and all species of fish are feeding well.’
      • ‘If more effort were put into ensuring rivers and watercourses were properly dredged and cleared of weed and vegetation, it might have helped to contain the water, he said.’
      • ‘Aquatic weeds have also grown to epidemic proportions.’
    2. 1.2informal Marijuana.
      • ‘To them, marijuana (also called weed because of its ability to thrive in adverse conditions), is not a drug but a herb.’
      • ‘I tell her that no one has died from smoking weed, and that people die of alcohol every day.’
      • ‘He wasn't always pumping his body full of alcohol, weed, cocaine, painkillers or steroids.’
      • ‘His job will be to procure the marijuana and ensure a steady supply of quality weed.’
      • ‘For instance, did you know that people plant weed in the forest there?’
      • ‘It came out after the shooting that he happened to grow weed as well and within minutes the entire tragedy got turned into a debate about legalizing marijuana.’
      • ‘We go to a nearby coffee house, share a bag of weed, have coffee, and get to know each other.’
      • ‘His breath smelled strongly of fresh weed, a smell she knew only too well as her own brother came home every night smelling just like it.’
      • ‘Problem is, I've got no weed until it grows and gets sticky.’
    3. 1.3the weedinformal Tobacco.
      • ‘But the first time these two came into contact with each other, they had to share the spotlight with, yes, the weed, tobacco.’
      • ‘Do addicts of the demon weed, tobacco, experience increased pleasure from life as a result of smoking tobacco?’
    4. 1.4informal A leggy, loosely built horse.


[with object]
  • 1Remove unwanted plants from (an area of ground or the plants cultivated in it)

    ‘I was weeding a flower bed’
    • ‘She would be out milking the cows, nipping the turnips, weeding the carrots.’
    • ‘Maureen planted many colourful plants, weeded, clipped and pruned the area so that it was a delight to the eye at Easter.’
    • ‘The girls have weeded a neighbor's yard, done some dog sitting and worked at extra chores around the house.’
    • ‘The group cleared and cleaned the pond, weeded the area, pruned the shrubs, fertilised the soil and planted out bedding plants.’
    • ‘Any time spent weeding this month will save twice as much time later in the season.’
    • ‘Then today I was weeding the bed in front of my house and lifted a mop of variegated grass to see a toad looking at me from a hollow he'd made in the shade of my porch.’
    • ‘Women and children plant, weed, and harvest most food crops.’
    • ‘Weeding the entire garden would take a single person hours, if not days.’
    • ‘After planting, each plot was weeded periodically.’
    • ‘Fields are generally tiny, and you sometimes see a man ploughing one with a tractor, or a woman weeding one with a mattock.’
    • ‘The students were involved in weeding a section of the land, before replanting natural plants and trees.’
    • ‘For best crops, weed and water regularly and consistently.’
    • ‘Once an area is weeded, a deep mulch will go some way towards stopping weeds from reappearing.’
    • ‘She weeded fastidiously, removing the plants and roots before they came to maturity, and preparing compost from them.’
    • ‘She weeded my front garden and helped me put up the rotary washing line in the back garden.’
    • ‘There would be no cane planted, weeded, cut, or ground without some form of compliance from the workers themselves.’
    • ‘I'd worked through worse weather weeding the fields and it wasn't that cold.’
    • ‘As we weeded the lettuce patch one day recently, you took satisfaction in likening us to a pair of police getting rid of bad guys.’
    • ‘I weeded the garden and picked produce for Jan to take to the Saturday market when she returned.’
    • ‘They were also asking businesses, shops, etc to weed the area outside their premises every morning.’
    1. 1.1weed someone/something out Remove an inferior or unwanted component of a group or collection.
      ‘we must raise the level of research and weed out the poorest work’
      • ‘Incompetent and dangerous laboratories would be weeded out and further tragedies like these minimized.’
      • ‘And they have applauded the role of the local community in helping the police to weed out the troublemakers.’
      • ‘Of course there is no easy way of weeding them out.’
      • ‘All moderating influences within the party have been weeded out.’
      • ‘Sure, some people will waste time with it, but a company should be able to figure out who's not doing their job properly and weed them out.’
      • ‘Corruption is something that has to be weeded out of our system.’
      • ‘As Sheehan notes, there's a reason why Eisenhower was so intolerant of failure and so ruthless about weeding it out.’
      • ‘It would also fund the hiring of 10,000 new Department of Homeland Security personnel dedicated to weeding illegal immigrants out of the workforce and an additional 1,000 for detecting immigration fraud.’
      • ‘Lynch says that while some agencies are badly run, he makes checks to ensure unsuitable candidates are weeded out.’
      • ‘Through rigorous screening - and I mean rigorous - and gut instinct, you can weed these people out.’
      isolate, separate out, set apart, put to one side, divide, segregate, sort out, sift out, winnow out, filter out, sieve
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Old English wēod (noun), wēodian (verb), of unknown origin; related to Dutch wieden (verb).