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

  • n. The silky down attached to the seedlike fruit of a thistle; pappus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The soft, feathery pappus attached to the seeds of a thistle.

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

  • n. pappus of a thistle consisting of silky featherlike hairs attached to the seed-like fruit of a thistle


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • A thing as important as thistledown is as unimportantly dismissed.

    Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard

  • A thin mist floated like thistledown from the marshes, which were so distant that they were visible only as a pinkish edge to the horizon.

    The Miller of Old Church

  • We also believed that there's a secret name which, if you call the thistledown by, will make it fly into your hand.

    Qwaider Planet

  • Vanaheim, long before those times I have memories (living memories) of earlier drifts, when, like thistledown before the breeze, we drifted south before the face of the descending polar ice-cap.

    Chapter 21

  • Did he ever (like most of us) catch some floating bit of emotional thistledown & go on from that, or did he plan on a subject like an architect?

    After Prayers, Lie Cold « Unknowing

  • Henry's post starts: "Unafraid as I am to pin my hamster to the mast in a sudden crisis, I shall splench my mainwairing to the thistledown and gladiate hencewithstanding."

    Pinning one's hamster to the mast

  • Grit and thistledown rushed past on the wind; shadows from the trees lining the road cut the ground like the dark lances of forest spirits.

    The Tudors: King Takes Queen

  • The yarn had been spun from spider silk and thistledown and it was the perfect size.

    Silence and Stone

  • Leferic struck a spark to the logs laid in the hearth, tending the tiny flame with twigs and dried thistledown until it was strong enough to take.


  • I feel sick at the thought of the little bird tossed from its thistledown nest, alone and frightened on the bottom of the basket for who knows how many hours during the night.



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  • Citation at sedge.

    November 13, 2008

  • "'No, I'm not. Alan has a hot air balloon. He says he finds it useful in his work.' She laughed. 'I think that is just an excuse, though; it's for the sport mostly. It's great fun. A good way for spotting animals.'

    'Can you steer it?'

    'Not very well. You go where the wind listeth, like a thistledown.'"

    - 'Windfall', Desmond Bagley.

    January 6, 2008