this·​tle | \ ˈthi-səl How to pronounce thistle (audio) \

Definition of thistle

: any of various prickly composite plants (especially genera Carduus, Cirsium, and Onopordum) with often showy heads of mostly tubular flowers also : any of various other prickly plants

Illustration of thistle

Illustration of thistle

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Other Words from thistle

thistly \ ˈthi-​s(ə-​)lē How to pronounce thistle (audio) \ adjective

Examples of thistle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shreve, Crump & Low’s Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co, brooch is comprised of full cut green peridots, and red rubies set in 18K yellow gold in this whimsically classic floral thistle themed design. Beth Bernstein, Forbes, 13 June 2021 The seaside cliffs are covered with poppies and thistle flowers, which bringing an air of the countryside to the coast. Harper's BAZAAR, 28 May 2021 Milk thistle has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 26 May 2021 Johnson grass, shattercane, and three kinds of thistle. Judy Hake,, 15 May 2021 To him, health means the maintenance of healing practices that trace back centuries: the harvest and the use of plants like mullein, sumac, thistle and wild thyme. Michael W. Twitty, Bon Appétit, 13 May 2021 Outside, tens of thousands of them––a shimmering miasma of orange and black––were descending on the creeping thistle to lay their eggs. Isabella Tree, Vogue, 27 Oct. 2020 Among the favorites were rosemary, nutmeg, saffron, cinnamon, elderberry, turnip, angelica, poppy, lemon, thistle, sage, lavender, clary, aniseed, coriander, fennel and caraway. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Mar. 2021 By timing fires early in the season, when the thistle was just popping up, burn crews were able to allow native bunchgrasses to return. Ula Chrobak, Scientific American, 24 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'thistle.' 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 thistle

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for thistle

Middle English thistel, from Old English; akin to Old High German distill thistle

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Time Traveler for thistle

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near thistle

this, that, and the other



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Cite this Entry

“Thistle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for thistle



English Language Learners Definition of thistle

: a wild plant that has sharp points on its leaves and purple, yellow, or white flowers


this·​tle | \ ˈthi-səl How to pronounce thistle (audio) \

Kids Definition of thistle

: a prickly plant that has usually purplish often showy heads of flowers

More from Merriam-Webster on thistle

Nglish: Translation of thistle for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about thistle


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