from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A thorny deciduous Eurasian shrub (Prunus spinosa) having white flowers and small, bluish-black, plumlike fruits used chiefly for flavoring alcoholic beverages such as sloe gin. Also called sloe.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A large shrub or small tree, Prunus spinosa, that is native to Europe, western Asia, and north Africa. It has a dark bark and bears thorns.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A spreading thorny shrub or small tree (Prunus spinosa), with blackish bark, and bearing little black plums, which are called sloes; the sloe.
- n. A species of Cratægus or hawthorn (Cratægus tomentosa). Both are used for hedges.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The sloe, Prunus spinosa. See sloe.
- n. A walking-stick made of the stem of this shrub.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. a thorny Eurasian bush with plumlike fruits
- n. erect and almost thornless American hawthorn with somewhat pear-shaped berries
Sorry, no etymologies found.
But once the plant has flowered, the weather then turns cold, a period known as the "blackthorn winter".
Linnaeus dubbed blackthorn Prunus spinosa because everything about it is prickly, tart, sour and generally stroppy.
Even the aid of the "blackthorn" was occasionally invoked as an effective instrument for securing correction or impressing conviction.
I spared most of it, because blackthorn makes a magnificent show of snowy blossom when the cold north-east winds blow in late March, known as the blackthorn winter’.
And it has been a fantastic year for fruits, with hawthorns, hollies and blackthorn producing terrific crops of berries.
There are still some fat, red berries among the hawthorns, though, and blackthorn bushes have their own blue-black berries known as sloes, which make delicious sloe gin.
A tangle of blackthorn grows in the sheltered "v" and the first scattering of white flowers star its dark uncompromising branches.
He turned his arm toward her, pulling the torn cloth from the spot on his bicep that had borne the cut of the blackthorn hours earlier.
Around small pastures the leaves on hazel bushes are already turning yellow and, on untrimmed hawthorn and blackthorn, there are reddening haws and purple-green sloes.
It is said that towards the end of March there is often a period of fine, sunny and warm weather, which brings the blackthorn into bloom.