this·​tle ˈthi-səl How to pronounce thistle (audio)
: 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
thistly adjective

Illustration of thistle

Illustration of thistle

Examples of thistle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Choose from a number of bright colors, including grape thistle and graphite gray, all of which are available in sizes 0–20. Amy Schulman, Peoplemag, 2 Mar. 2024 In order to use this weeding tool (which works on dandelions, thistles, and more), simply place the head of the tool over the weed, step down on the foot platform, and pull up to remove the weed. Andrea Wurzburger, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Sep. 2023 The Hormonal Health Blend, Menopause Symptom Relief Complex and Digestive Wellness Complex comprise herbs, spices and compounds such as Korean thistle, thyme, saffron, L-theanine and maca root powder. Katie Camero, USA TODAY, 14 Mar. 2024 To help the birds survive the cold, Winger said people can offer seeds in bird feeders or thistle feeders. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 19 Jan. 2024 Diamond Thistle brooch Queen Elizabeth gifted Camilla this diamond thistle brooch; the thistle is the national flower of Scotland. Town & Country, 16 Mar. 2023 There are four crosses alternating with four sprays representing the national emblems of England (roses), Ireland (shamrocks) and Scotland (thistles). Stephanie Petit, Peoplemag, 7 Nov. 2023 But his compatriot got across, landing in a field of thistles north of Kiryat Shemona in Israel, Time reported. Jonathan Edwards, Washington Post, 9 Oct. 2023 In between each shield is an emblem of the U.K. nations: a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 29 Dec. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thistle.' 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 thistel, from Old English; akin to Old High German distill thistle

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near thistle

Cite this Entry

“Thistle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


this·​tle ˈthis-əl How to pronounce thistle (audio)
: any of various prickly plants related to the daisies and having often showy heads of mostly tubular flowers
thistly adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on thistle

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