from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See blackthorn.
  • n. Either of two eastern North American plum trees or shrubs, Prunus alleghaniensis, having dark purple fruit, or P. americana, having yellow or red fruit.
  • n. The tart plumlike fruit of either of these plants.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The small, bitter, wild fruit of the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa); also, the tree itself.
  • n. Any of various other plants of the genus Prunus, as a shrub or small tree, Prunus alleghaniensis, bearing dark-purple fruit.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small, bitter, wild European plum, the fruit of the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa); also, the tree itself.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The fruit of the blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, a small bluish-black drupe; also, the fruit of P. umbellata.
  • n. The blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, a shrub of hedgerows, thickets, etc., found in Europe and Russian and central Asia.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a thorny Eurasian bush with plumlike fruits
  • n. wild plum of northeastern United States having dark purple fruits with yellow flesh
  • n. small sour dark purple fruit of especially the Allegheny plum bush


Middle English slo, from Old English slā.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old English slāh, from Proto-Germanic *slaihwō. Cognate with Danish slåen, Dutch slee, German Schlehe and perhaps with Russian слива (sliva, "plum"). (Wiktionary)


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  • Dark Danny has eyes
    As black as the sloe,
    And his freckles tell
    Where the sunbeams go!

    - Ivy Eastwick, 'Dark Danny'.

    November 30, 2008