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

  • noun Any of various North American shrubs resembling the blackthorn.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The fruit of the blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, a small bluish-black drupe; also, the fruit of P. umbellata.
  • noun The blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, a shrub of hedgerows, thickets, etc., found in Europe and Russian and central Asia.

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

  • noun (Bot.) A small, bitter, wild European plum, the fruit of the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa); also, the tree itself.

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

  • noun The small, bitter, wild fruit of the blackthorn (Prunus spinosa); also, the tree itself.
  • noun Any of various other plants of the genus Prunus, as a shrub or small tree, Prunus alleghaniensis, bearing dark-purple fruit.

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

  • noun a thorny Eurasian bush with plumlike fruits
  • noun wild plum of northeastern United States having dark purple fruits with yellow flesh
  • noun small sour dark purple fruit of especially the Allegheny plum bush


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

[Middle English slo, from Old English slā; see sleiə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English slāh, from Proto-Germanic *slaihwō. Cognate with Danish slåen, Dutch slee, German Schlehe and perhaps with Russian слива (sliva, "plum").


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  • Dark Danny has eyes

    As black as the sloe,

    And his freckles tell

    Where the sunbeams go!

    - Ivy Eastwick, 'Dark Danny'.

    November 30, 2008

  • The fruit, called sloe, can be made into a liqueur called sloe gin.

    June 17, 2015

  • Sozzled journalists had often been known to indulge when officebound without much happening for them to report. Hence the expression 'sloe news day'.

    June 17, 2015

  • I cotton sloe gin. It has a nice spinosa (and taste). It is plum good!

    June 18, 2015

  • "Elder and hazelnuts were both high in nutritious fats, and at the Glastonbury Iron Age site, hundreds of sloe stones were identified, as well as the remains of raspberries, blackberries, cornel cherries, strawberries, dewberries, and hawthorn."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 11-12

    January 6, 2017