: any of a family (Euphorbiaceae) of widely distributed herbs, shrubs, and trees often with a bitter milky juice
especially : euphorbia

Examples of spurge in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There are no spots, so this is Euphorbia prostrata, ground spurge. oregonlive, 2 Sep. 2023 For example, myrtle spurge, a succulent that sprouts yellow and white flowers, is an invasive species that the Salt Lake County Health Department considers a noxious weed. Paige Ney, The Salt Lake Tribune, 26 Aug. 2023 Euphorbia – Bonfire is one of the cushion spurges forms a rounded clump of with leaves that start out green in the spring, but then the foliage takes on shades of purple, red and orange, and supposedly turns red in the fall. Janet B. Carson, Arkansas Online, 25 June 2023 A couple of cross members on the arbor have broken, planks that retain beds have decayed and paths meticulously weeded just a month ago are full of nutsedge and prostrate spurge again. Washington Post, 7 July 2021 Euphorbia cotinifolia commonly called tropical smokebush or copper spurge, is a showy annual for us in Arkansas. Janet B. Carson, Arkansas Online, 10 Oct. 2022 Your two weeds are spotted spurge in the first picture and pearlwort in the second picture. oregonlive, 21 Aug. 2022 The same plantings from the courtyard—including Jerusalem sage, upright myrtle spurge, and lavender—were repeated throughout the property. Deanna Kizis, Sunset Magazine, 2 Feb. 2022 Be careful not to confuse mountain spurge with similar-looking Japanese pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis), which is invasive. Leanne Potts, Better Homes & Gardens, 20 Oct. 2021 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French espurge, spurge, from espurger to clean out, purge, from Latin expurgare — more at expurgate

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spurge was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near spurge

Cite this Entry

“Spurge.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spurge. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


: any of various mostly shrubby plants (family Euphorbiaceae, the spurge family, and especially genus Euphorbia) that have a bitter milky juice and that include several which have been used medicinally see ipecac spurge

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