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

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 Remove cardamom pods, cool slightly and puree rhubarb mixture in blender until smooth. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Sweet summer on a plate: Fruits can enhance savory dishes, too," 26 June 2018 Remove any tough leaves or rind and steam or simmer for a tart, rhubarb-like taste. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, "8 Backyard Weeds You Can Actually Eat," 3 Apr. 2017 Potato jackets are especially bad for dogs, as is the entire rhubarb plant. E.a. Anne, Woman's Day, "10 Common Foods That Are Extremely Toxic to Dogs," 13 Feb. 2016 Young stalks are the best, if there is such a thing with rhubarb. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Ladies and gentlemen, start your compost," 14 June 2018 Among the other veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, Easter Egg radishes, greens mix, baby lettuce mix, escarole, pac choi, rhubarb, arugula, leaf lettuces, chives and basil. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Last week’s warm weather means more local veggies at farmers markets this week," 11 July 2018 Bake in the oven until the rhubarb is tender but not mushy, about 15 to 20 minutes. Eva Katz, BostonGlobe.com, "Recipes: Soft, crisp pancakes with rhubarb, salmon, or chocolate," 11 May 2018 Shatynski grows rhubarb, chili peppers and olive trees in containers. Dawn Standke, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Tally up your garden’s earth friendliness," 12 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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Statistics for rhubarb

Last Updated

9 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for rhubarb

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

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More Definitions for rhubarb



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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