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

  • n. Any of various cacti of the genus Opuntia, having bristly, flattened or cylindrical joints, showy, usually yellow flowers, and ovoid, often prickly fruit.
  • n. The often edible fruit of such a cactus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any of various spiny cacti of the genus Opuntia, or the fruit, often edible, of such a plant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. a name given to several plants of the cactaceous genus Opuntia, American plants consisting of fleshy, leafless, usually flattened, and often prickly joints inserted upon each other. The sessile flowers have many petals and numerous stamens. The edible fruit is a large pear-shaped berry containing many flattish seeds. The common species of the Northern Atlantic States is Opuntia vulgaris. In the South and West are many others, and in tropical America more than a hundred more. Opuntia vulgaris, Opuntia Ficus-Indica, and Opuntia Tuna are abundantly introduced in the Mediterranean region, and Opuntia Dillenii has become common in India.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The fruit of cacti of the genus Opuntia, a pear-shaped or ovoid berry, in many cases juicy and edible, armed with prickles or nearly smooth.
  • n. Any plant of this genus, primarily O. vulgaris (or O. Rafinesquii, which is not always distinguished from it). See Opuntia.

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

  • n. cacti having spiny flat joints and oval fruit that is edible in some species; often used as food for stock
  • n. round or pear-shaped spiny fruit of any of various prickly pear cacti


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