hawthorn

noun
haw·​thorn | \ˈhȯ-ˌthȯrn \

Definition of hawthorn 

: any of a genus (Crataegus) of spring-flowering spiny shrubs or small trees of the rose family with glossy and often lobed leaves, white or pink fragrant flowers, and small red fruits

Illustration of hawthorn

Illustration of hawthorn

hawthorn: 1 leaves and flowers, 2 fruits

Keep scrolling for more

Hawthorn Has Old English Roots

A hawthorn is a thorny shrub or tree which can be planted into a hedge, and this fact provides a hint about the origins of the plant's name. The word hawthorn traces back to the Old English word hagathorn, a combination of "haga" ("hedge") and "thorn" (same meaning as the modern "thorn" or "thornbush"). "Haga" was also used in Old English for the hawthorn itself, but by the 12th century the "thorn" had been added to its name.

Examples of hawthorn in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

According to Irish lore, the bush-like hawthorn trees on the park perimeter are where the fairies meet. Amy Tara Koch, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Plan a Family Trip to Ireland," 12 July 2018 Carissa hollies are ideal change-outs for the hawthorns. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Overgrown shrubs? Thinning turfgrass? Here are solutions to common gardening struggles," 13 June 2018 The hawthorn’s branches and red berries are part of the town’s seal. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury, With Its Ferry Rides, Orchards, Historical Sites, Is Celebrating 325 Years," 13 July 2018 The Glastonbury Town Center Initiative group has held a few celebrations, including planting a hawthorn tree along the driveway to the Welles Turner Memorial Library. Peter Marteka, Courant Community, "Glastonbury, With Its Ferry Rides, Orchards, Historical Sites, Is Celebrating 325 Years," 13 July 2018 Yellowed redtip photinias and Indian hawthorns, often with maroon freckles all over their leaves. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "Overgrown shrubs? Thinning turfgrass? Here are solutions to common gardening struggles," 13 June 2018 Similar diseases called cedar-quince rust and cedar-hawthorn rust affect junipers and other trees that, like apples, are members of the rose family. Beth Botts, chicagotribune.com, "Orange growths on juniper trees signal cedar-apple rust," 30 May 2018 Along the sides of the fountain are cockspur hawthorns, low hanging-trees that create a canopy over the entire space during the summer, making this the perfect spot for a shady afternoon spent with a book. chicagotribune.com, "Secret Chicago: 40 of the city's best-kept mystery spots," 1 May 2018 The targets are not only those in the willow and cedar families that are staples of the beaver’s diet, but also pine and hawthorn trees that don’t have the type of bark the creatures prefer. Kip Hill, The Seattle Times, "Beavers chewing up trees at water’s edge along Spokane’s Riverfront Park," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hawthorn.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of hawthorn

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hawthorn

Middle English hawethorn, from Old English hagathorn, from haga hawthorn + thorn — more at hedge

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hawthorn

Listen to Our Podcast about hawthorn

Statistics for hawthorn

Last Updated

24 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hawthorn

The first known use of hawthorn was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hawthorn

hawthorn

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hawthorn

: a type of bush or small tree with white or pink flowers and small red fruits

hawthorn

noun
haw·​thorn | \ˈhȯ-ˌthȯrn \

Kids Definition of hawthorn

: a thorny shrub or small tree with shiny leaves, white, pink, or red flowers, and small red fruits

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hawthorn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hawthorn

Spanish Central: Translation of hawthorn

Nglish: Translation of hawthorn for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hawthorn

Comments on hawthorn

What made you want to look up hawthorn? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!