from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of several plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. rhabarbarum, having long edible green or reddish leafstalks that are usually cooked and sweetened.
  • noun A preparation made from the dried rhizomes and roots of any of several plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. palmatum or R. officinale of East Asia, used as a laxative.
  • noun Informal A quarrel, fight, or heated discussion.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Bot.) The name of several large perennial herbs of the genus Rheum and order Polygonaceæ.
  • noun 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.
  • noun (Med.) The root of several species of Rheum, used much as a cathartic medicine.
  • noun (Bot.) See under Monk.
  • noun (Med.) the roots of Rheum Emodi.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun 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).
  • noun The dried rhizome and roots of Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale, from China, used as a laxative and purgative.
  • noun A word repeated softly to emulate background conversation. (see rhubarb rhubarb).
  • noun An excited, angry exchange of words, especially at a sporting event.
  • noun baseball A brawl.
  • noun military An RAF World War II code name for operations by aircraft (fighters and fighter bombers) seeking opportunity targets.

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

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


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

[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.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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")


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

    November 3, 2007

  • 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

  • Best when used to mean "a quarrel."

    August 5, 2008

  • 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

  • 'tis rhubarb!

    March 4, 2009

  • 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

  • Citation (in the sexual sense) on rumdum.

    June 30, 2012

  • Rhubarb is also used as stage whisper-type nonsense dialogue by background actors / ensemble to look like they're chatting but not saying anything.

    Oh! That sense is more thoroughly covered under rhubarb rhubarb

    November 29, 2022