rhu·​barb | \ˈrü-ˌbärb \

Definition of rhubarb 

1a : any of a genus (Rheum) of Asian plants of the buckwheat family having large leaves with thick petioles often used as food also : the petioles of rhubarb

b : the tart, succulent, usually pink or red petioles of rhubarb used especially in pies and preserves

2 : the dried rhizome and roots of any of various rhubarbs (such as Rheum officinale and R. palmatum) grown chiefly in temperate parts of China and used in folk medicine especially as a laxative, diuretic, and ulcer treatment

3 : a heated dispute or controversy

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Examples of rhubarb in a Sentence

The coach got into a rhubarb with the umpire. a basketball coach whose ranting rhubarbs with officials are the stuff of legend

Recent Examples on the Web

Their neighbor Jim Saindon joined them for dinner, bringing with him a homemade strawberry rhubarb pie and a flourless chocolate cake, and the evening concluded with a pool tournament. Georgina Schaeffer, Town & Country, "Be Our Guest," 9 Sep. 2013 Foods with deep red hues such as beets, rhubarb, and berries can make your pee look red, according to the Mayo Clinic. Korin Miller, SELF, "10 Things That Can Cause Blood in Your Urine," 19 Sep. 2018 In this case, the tofu and buttermilk combined for a chalky texture and the raw ribbons of rhubarb became more like dental floss with each chew. Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle, "The Perennial makes environmental activism taste good," 25 May 2018 Spring Chamoyda 5 thin slices of rhubarb 2 strawberries 1 3/4 oz tequila blanco 1 oz Chamoy Blend everything together with ice and serve. Natalie B. Compton, GQ, "Four New Ways to Drink Your Tequila This Spring," 23 May 2018 Trim ends of rhubarb and cut evenly into 4 1/2-inch lengths. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Rhubarb and Almond Upside-Down Cake," 18 Apr. 2018 In mid-May, the tables overflowed with asparagus, rhubarb, lettuce, onions, radishes, and greenhouse tomatoes and sweet peppers. Patricia Harris And David Lyon, BostonGlobe.com, "Beyond the falls: the delicious tastes of Niagara," 25 Apr. 2018 Add rhubarb, bring to a boil, and cook until vegetable is soft, about 12 minutes. Cindy Pawlcyn, Country Living, "Rhubarb and Ginger Sauce," 12 Apr. 2010 At one point there were four more guests than places at the table, but Ellery quickly shuffled seats around and for dessert, everyone stood to eat slices of a rhubarb and frangipane tart. New York Times, "How to Host a Dinner Party, and Also Enjoy It. Really.," 5 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of rhubarb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for rhubarb

Middle English rubarbe, from Anglo-French reubarbe, from Medieval Latin reubarbarum, alteration of rha barbarum, literally, barbarian rhubarb

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for rhubarb

The first known use of rhubarb was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of rhubarb

: a plant with large green leaves and with thick pink or red stems that are cooked and used in pies, jams, etc.

: an angry argument


rhu·​barb | \ˈrü-ˌbärb \

Kids Definition of rhubarb

: the thick juicy pink or red stems of a garden plant that have a tart flavor and are used cooked especially in jams and desserts


rhu·​barb | \ˈrü-ˌbärb \

Medical Definition of rhubarb 

1 : any of several plants of the genus Rheum having large leaves with thick succulent petioles often used as food

2 : the dried rhizome and roots of any of several rhubarbs (especially Rheum officinale and R. palmatum) grown in China and Tibet and used as a purgative and stomachic

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More from Merriam-Webster on rhubarb

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rhubarb

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rhubarb

Spanish Central: Translation of rhubarb

Nglish: Translation of rhubarb for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about rhubarb

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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