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

  • n. Any of several plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. rhabarbarum, having long green or reddish acidic leafstalks that are edible when sweetened and cooked. Also called pie plant.
  • n. The dried, bitter-tasting rhizome and roots of Rheum palmatum or R. officinale of eastern Asia, used as a laxative.
  • n. Informal A quarrel, fight, or heated discussion.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Any plant of the genus Rheum, especially Rheum rharbarbarum, having large leaves and long green or reddish acidic leafstalks, that are edible, in particular when cooked (although the leaves are mildly poisonous).
  • n. The dried rhizome and roots of Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale, from China, used as a laxative and purgative.
  • n. A word repeated softly to emulate background conversation. (see rhubarb rhubarb).
  • n. An excited, angry exchange of words, especially at a sporting event.
  • n. A brawl.
  • n. An RAF World War II code name for operations by aircraft (fighters and fighter bombers) seeking opportunity targets.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The name of several large perennial herbs of the genus Rheum and order Polygonaceæ.
  • n. The large and fleshy leafstalks of Rheum Rhaponticum and other species of the same genus. They are pleasantly acid, and are used in cookery. Called also pieplant.
  • n. The root of several species of Rheum, used much as a cathartic medicine.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The general name for plants of the genus Rheum, especially for species affording the drug rhubarb and the culinary herb of that name.
  • n. The root of any medicinal rhubarb, or some preparation of it.
  • n. The leafstalks of the garden rhubarb collectively; pie-plant.
  • Resembling rhubarb; bitter.

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

  • n. plants having long green or reddish acidic leafstalks growing in basal clumps; stems (and only the stems) are edible when cooked; leaves are poisonous
  • n. long pinkish sour leafstalks usually eaten cooked and sweetened


Middle English rubarbe, from Old French, from Late Latin reubarbarum, probably alteration (influenced by Greek rhēon) of rhabarbarum : rha, rhubarb (from Greek rhā, perhaps from Rhā, the Volga River) + Latin barbarum, neuter of barbarus, barbarian, foreign; see barbarous.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English rubarbe, from Old French, from Late Latin reubarbarum, from Latin Rha ("River Volga") (in the region from which the plant came to the Mediterraneum, cognate with New Latin Rheum) + barbarum ("barbarian") (Wiktionary)



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  • Citation (in the sexual sense) on rumdum.

    June 30, 2012

  • Too much gall dyd that wormwood of Gibeline wits put in his inke, who ingraued that rubarbe Epitaph on this excellent Poets tombstone, Quite forsaken of all good Angels was he, and vtterly giuen ouer to an artlesse enuie.

    - Thomas Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller, 1594

    April 14, 2010

  • 'tis rhubarb!

    March 4, 2009

  • In stage theater, the name applied to crowd background talk.

    People! People! You extras - could we have a little more rhubarb back there please? This is a busy street scene, not a funeral parlor.

    February 10, 2009

  • Best when used to mean "a quarrel."

    August 5, 2008

  • Well lately I've been thinkin'
    About some good home cookin'
    Just like I haven't eaten in the longest time
    Now I like potato chips, now please don't get me wrong
    But I haven't tasted Mama's rhubarb pie in so very long

    Rhubarb pie in the summer
    Rhubarb pie made by my mother
    Nothing better in the winter
    Than rhubarb pie after dinner

    Twinkies may be better
    Than a hole in the sweater
    And the hole in the sweater
    Beats a poke in the eye
    If I had my choice I'd leave this
    Gas station store
    And then I'd travel back in time and
    I'd sit down and have some more


    Looking at the picture
    In the Sunday paper
    Of the politician he's talkin' to the press
    And he looks like he's been eating lemons all his life
    Well, I think Mama's rhubarb pie could solve
    More problems overnight

    (Chorus 2x)

    Ah take me home... whoa
    I like it with a crispy crust... whoa
    And the sugar on top... whoa
    Oh it makes my mouth water... whoa
    I'm comin' home, Mama... whoa

    -Five Iron Frenzy, Rhubarb Pie

    November 6, 2007

  • remorse felt following a joke at someone else's expense

    November 3, 2007