thistle

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Old English þistel, from Proto-Germanic *þistilaz. *þīh- from *teyg-, which is a variant of Proto-Indo-European *steyg- (to prick); from this same Proto-Indo-European root comes English stick. Cognates include German Distel and Icelandic þistill.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

thistle (plural thistles)

  1. Any of several perennial composite plants, especially of genera Cirsium, Carduus, Cynara or Onopordum, having prickly leaves and showy flower heads with prickly bracts.
  2. This plant seen as the national emblem of Scotland.
  3. The Order of the Thistle, or membership thereof.
    • 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia, Faber & Faber 1992 (Avignon Quintet), p. 324:
      Here's a passage which will please you: ‘It is said that when rich he twice refused the thistle.’

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