Definition of weed in English:



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

    ‘keep the seedlings clear of weeds’
    • ‘Given the right conditions many will grow like weeds, seeding freely around.’
    • ‘This will help prevent weeds from growing, and additionally will feed your soil slowly over time.’
    • ‘Nests are open cups made of weeds, grass, plant fibers, and moss, with a lining of fur and feathers.’
    • ‘Write down which plants were infected with diseases and where the weeds grew most.’
    • ‘Just like our garden plants, weeds have certain preferences for growing conditions.’
    • ‘There are several small varieties that grow wild as weeds in North America.’
    • ‘Raised on a farm in the eastern part of North Carolina, Jo grew up pulling weeds in her mother's cutting garden.’
    • ‘Clear all the weeds and grass from the area you intend to cover to prevent them from growing up through the mulch.’
    • ‘The lawn was well-kept, but still a bit wild, with weeds and poorly pruned brushes lining the walkway up the hill.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They hide during the day under mulch, plant debris, rocks, boards, weeds, and ground covers.’
    • ‘Honeysuckle will quickly cover everything in its path, choking out weeds as it grows.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Spread wheat straw mulch over your garden in February to keep weeds at bay.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Mike already has a layer of wood chip mulch in place around his plants to keep down weeds and conserve moisture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A site that will not grow other plants and weeds or has some type of soil problem will probably not be ideal for wildflowers.’
    1. 1.1[mass noun]Any wild plant growing in salt or fresh water.
      ‘at the far side of the beach the rocks began, some humped with brown 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.’
      • ‘The weed impedes water's natural flow and can destroy native communities of aquatic plants and animals.’
      • ‘By now summer is under way, the weed is growing and all species of fish are feeding well.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Move over hydrilla, there's a bigger, meaner invasive aquatic weed in town.’
      • ‘Aquatic weeds have also grown to epidemic proportions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the moment there is deeper water and reasonable floating weed cover in one area, so the Jacanas have not left.’
      • ‘The west bank is more sandy and shallow with weed growing, and the opposite bank more rocky and deeper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2informal [mass noun]Cannabis.
      • ‘It went on like that for a few months until it got to the point where we were truanting from school every day and smoking weed.’
      • ‘For one, the average youth doesn't see smoking weed as a ‘rebellion’ against society any more.’
      • ‘You may have heard it called marijuana, weed or hash but it is still cannabis, a natural drug that comes from a plant.’
      • ‘The chap sat next to us had black glasses on and was smoking weed.’
      • ‘But at the point where most of my friends went from weed or hash to LSD or ecstasy, I stopped smoking.’
      • ‘Still who needs weed when you've got coffee and nicotine?’
      • ‘By no means am I condoning the use of any drug; I'm just trying to get you to realise that there are far worse things than smoking a bit of weed.’
      • ‘It was very refreshing to walk into coffee shops, buy some weed, borrow their bong and sit down and have a nice smoke.’
      • ‘On Villa Road there are kids selling crack, weed and cocaine.’
      • ‘Had he not supplied weed, none of us would ever have spoken to him.’
      • ‘I stopped smoking weed after that for a couple of months and started to get drunk again.’
      • ‘He never touched weed, cocaine or anything else.’
      • ‘All the research means very little when a large proportion of the population have decided that they like to smoke a bit of weed.’
      • ‘99% of the people I know have tried or smoke weed and not one is an addict on any other drug.’
      • ‘She is in her sixties, and without smoking weed, she has difficulty moving.’
      • ‘Last night, I also smoked weed for the first time in a year.’
      • ‘The way I see it is this: lots of people say that smoking weed, or whatever you want to call it, leads to stronger drugs.’
      • ‘I know absolutely no heroin addicts and I know plenty of people who smoke weed.’
      • ‘I suppose when you're out of your mind on cheap cider, homegrown weed and crack cocaine you might enjoy muck like that.’
      • ‘I had no trouble stopping taking weed and after one farewell joint, gave up.’
    3. 1.3informal Tobacco.
      ‘smokers are advised to eat more fruit, as the weed can increase the risk of gastric cancer’
      • ‘Do addicts of the demon weed, tobacco, experience increased pleasure from life as a result of smoking tobacco?’
      • ‘But the first time these two came into contact with each other, they had to share the spotlight with, yes, the weed, tobacco.’
  • 2British informal A contemptibly feeble person.

    ‘he thought party games were for weeds and wets’
    • ‘‘I have always been a bit of a weed, to be honest, and I am always being told to try weight training and go to a gym,’ he said.’
    • ‘‘Well, some thought he was a bit of a weed, but he doesn't come around anymore,’ he quipped.’
    coward, weakling, milksop, milquetoast, namby-pamby, crybaby, baby
    View synonyms
  • 3informal A leggy, loosely built horse.

    ‘my tiny bay weed could jump like a stag’


  • 1Remove unwanted plants from (an area of ground)

    ‘I was weeding a flower bed’
    • ‘I'd worked through worse weather weeding the fields and it wasn't that cold.’
    • ‘She weeded fastidiously, removing the plants and roots before they came to maturity, and preparing compost from them.’
    • ‘Maureen planted many colourful plants, weeded, clipped and pruned the area so that it was a delight to the eye at Easter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There would be no cane planted, weeded, cut, or ground without some form of compliance from the workers themselves.’
    • ‘She weeded my front garden and helped me put up the rotary washing line in the back garden.’
    • ‘Fields are generally tiny, and you sometimes see a man ploughing one with a tractor, or a woman weeding one with a mattock.’
    • ‘The group cleared and cleaned the pond, weeded the area, pruned the shrubs, fertilised the soil and planted out bedding plants.’
    • ‘For best crops, weed and water regularly and consistently.’
    • ‘After planting, each plot was weeded periodically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She would be out milking the cows, nipping the turnips, weeding the carrots.’
    • ‘Once an area is weeded, a deep mulch will go some way towards stopping weeds from reappearing.’
    • ‘Weeding the entire garden would take a single person hours, if not days.’
    • ‘The girls have weeded a neighbor's yard, done some dog sitting and worked at extra chores around the house.’
    • ‘Women and children plant, weed, and harvest most food crops.’
    • ‘The students were involved in weeding a section of the land, before replanting natural plants and trees.’
    • ‘They were also asking businesses, shops, etc to weed the area outside their premises every morning.’
    • ‘I weeded the garden and picked produce for Jan to take to the Saturday market when she returned.’
  • 2Remove an inferior or unwanted component of a group or collection.

    ‘we must raise the level of research and weed out the poorest work’
    • ‘As Sheehan notes, there's a reason why Eisenhower was so intolerant of failure and so ruthless about weeding it out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All moderating influences within the party have been weeded out.’
    • ‘Through rigorous screening - and I mean rigorous - and gut instinct, you can weed these people 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.’
    • ‘Incompetent and dangerous laboratories would be weeded out and further tragedies like these minimized.’
    • ‘Corruption is something that has to be weeded out of our system.’
    isolate, separate out, set apart, put to one side, divide, segregate, sort out, sift out, winnow out, filter out, sieve
    eliminate, get rid of, remove, dispense with, shed
    dump, lose
    View synonyms


Old English wēod (noun), wēodian (verb), of unknown origin; related to Dutch wieden (verb).