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 thistly (audio) \ adjective

Examples of thistle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That meant snapping super-closeup pictures with their phones and a magnifying glass and uploading them to an app that uses AI algorithms to identify plants ranging from the ordinary Queen Anne’s lace to the ultrarare Pitcher’s thistle. Daniela Hernandez, WSJ, "How to Do Scientific Field Work When You Can’t Get to the Right Field," 3 Sep. 2020 From thistle down to the inner bark of cedar, there is a nearly endless supply of natural materials that will take a spark. The Editors, Field & Stream, "3 Keys to Starting an Emergency Fire," 4 Aug. 2020 The big artichoke on the bottle is a dead giveaway—this Mediterranean thistle is one of the ingredients that gives this amaro its bitter, herbal taste. Laura Itzkowitz, Saveur, "A Field Guide to Italian Amaro," 13 Apr. 2018 Andrew Fusek Peters spent two hours in the Shropshire hills to capture the images, one of which shows the exact moment a fritillary leaves a thistle at the Brook Vessons nature reserve. Fox News, "Photographer captures remarkable images of endangered butterfly flying off flower," 30 June 2020 A dozen households were given mixed seed for their feeders, another 12 got thistle seed and the remainder are a control group putting out no seed at all. Alia Malik,, "UT San Antonio grad student researching how backyard bird feeding affects winged population," 5 Mar. 2020 Bring dimension to the outer edges of the bouquet with thistle; this will serve as your gesture flower. Rebekah Lowin, Country Living, "5 DIY Floral Bouquets to Make for Every Spring Occasion," 13 Apr. 2020 Evening primrose, coyote thistle, and hummingbird mint (hyssop) are drought-resistant and loved by bees and butterflies. Heather Arndt Anderson, Sunset Magazine, "Your Ultimate Spring Gardening To-Do List for March and April," 16 Mar. 2020 The result is that broadleaf weeds such as henbit, chickweed, thistle, bedstraw and dandelions are prospering. Calvin Finch,, "Calvin Finch: It’s weed season, San Antonio gardeners. Here’s what to do," 20 Feb. 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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Statistics for thistle

Last Updated

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Thistle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for thistle


How to pronounce thistle (audio)

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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