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ripe medlar fruit


Via Middle English from Old French medler, from medle, mesdle (medlar fruit), from Latin mespila, from Ancient Greek μέσπιλον (méspilon)


medlar (plural medlars)

  1. a tree of the former genus Mespilus, now Crataegus sect. Mespilus.
  2. the plant Mespilus canescens of the family Rosaceae, also known as Stern's medlar.
  3. the plant Crataegus azarolus of the family Rosaceae, also known as Mediterranean medlar.
  4. the plant Eriobotrya japonica of the family Rosaceae, also known as Japanese medlar.
  5. the plant Mimusops elengi of the family Sapotaceae, also known as Spanish medlar.
  6. the plant Vangueria infausta of the family Rubiaceae, also known as African medlar.
  7. the tree's fruit, which is similar to a small apple, but not eaten until it has begun to decay, or more properly, to blet.
  8. (derogatory, intended sexually) a woman or a woman's genitalia (as the fruit's appearance mimics an "open-arse")
    • c. 1604: Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare
      I was once before him for getting a wench with child....but I was fain to forswear it; they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.

Derived terms[edit]






  1. present tense of medla.