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

  • n. A woody plant (Spiraea tomentosa) of eastern North America, having leaves with rusty down on the undersides and spikelike clusters of small, rose-purple flowers. Also called steeplebush.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plant, the steeplebush.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A very astringent shrub (Spiræa tomentosa), common in pastures. The Potentilla fruticosa is also called by this name.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A low shrub, Spiræa tomentosa, with woolly leaves and pods, and dense terminal panicles of rose-colored or white flowers. Also called steeplebush.
  • n. The hop-hornbeam, Ostrya Virginiana.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • By the time I got back up the hill he had three saplings—the two hardhack runners plus a straight young ash, destined to be our tongue—felled and limbed.

    The Dirty Life

  • We were looking for hardhack, the local name for hop hornbeam, a heavy, dense hardwood that wears extremely well and is, according to Mr. Owens, the very best material from which to make a jumper.

    The Dirty Life

  • In the machine shop, we bound the hardhack runners to wooden braces and decked them over with pine boards to make a sturdy platform, six feet by eight.

    The Dirty Life

  • For dessert they had chestnuts, beech-nuts, and butternuts, and for drink they used the checkerberry and hardhack, but mostly they used mountain tea and swamp chocolate-root; these two last-named articles nearly resembled those brought from foreign countries.

    The New England Magazine, Volume 1, No. 4, Bay State Monthly, Volume 4, No. 4, April, 1886

  • It was something foreign, grotesque, and picturesque in a life of the most matter-of-fact sameness; it was even as if one should see clusters of palm-trees scattered here and there among Yankee wooden meeting-houses, or open one's eyes on clumps of yellow-striped aloes growing among hardhack and huckleberry bushes in the pastures.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 16, February, 1859

  • Once they drew their canoe up to the bank of Sunasquam Water, a stream walled in by the dense green of the hardhack.


  • Some of the time he could hardly see the narrow sidewalk path between the dusty meadowsweet and hardhack bushes, since those floating black threads wove together into a veritable veil before him.

    The Copy-Cat, & Other Stories

  • Beyond the pine woods, in the patch of sunny road bordered by dust-covered hardhack and elder, she paused for a moment, to dash the tears from her eyes.

    Country Neighbors

  • Dried pumpkin was a poor sweetening instead of molasses; maple sugar and honey were not esteemed as was sugar; tea was ill-replaced by raspberry leaves, loosestrife, hardhack, goldenrod, dittany, blackberry leaves, yeopon, sage, and a score of other herbs; coffee was better than parched rye and chestnuts; spices could not be compensated for or remotely imitated by any substitutes.

    Home Life in Colonial Days

  • I have known a pair of bluebirds to brave them on such poor rations as are afforded by the hardhack or sugarberry, -- a drupe the size of a small pea, with a thin, sweet skin.

    The Wit of a Duck and Other Papers


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