briar patch


plural briar patches
: an area in which briars (see briar entry 1 sense 1) are growing
… the cottontail was sitting comfortably on a stump right in the middle of a briar patchCook's Illustrated
: a troublesome or difficult situation or experience
The culling of bison at Yellowstone, while legal, has been a briar patch of controversy for more than two decades.Jim Robbins
… he shows how Elvis made his way through this cultural briar patchMargo Jefferson

Examples of briar patch in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Their adventures in my backyard included picking raspberries from the overgrown briar patch to make coulis for their cheesecake and gossiping about Barbie’s poor taste in satin jumpsuits. Globe Staff,, 13 July 2023 Splash Mountain has taken its last trip into the briar patch at Disneyland. Mackenzie Schmidt, Peoplemag, 31 May 2023 Guests will have their final chance to plunge a five-story drop through a briar patch on May 30, giving Disneyland attendees one last busy Memorial Day weekend to experience the attraction in its current form. Todd Martens, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2023 The Chinese got themselves in this briar patch and in many ways are planning on staying there. WSJ, 1 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'briar patch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1774, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of briar patch was in 1774

Dictionary Entries Near briar patch

Cite this Entry

“Briar patch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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