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Alternative forms[edit]


ratoon (plural ratoons)

  1. A shoot sprouting from the root of a cropped plant, especially sugar cane.
    • 1803, John Browne Cutting, “A Succinct History of Jamaica” in Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, p. xci,[1]
      Ratoons, probably so named from a corruption of the Spanish word brotones, are suckers and sprouts, that spring from the roots of canes that have previously been cut down.
    • 1926, Frank Wesley Pitman, “The Organization of Slave Labor”, in The Journal of Negro History, volume 11, number 4, page 600:
      Their field tasks were somewhat easier than those of the great gang: cleaning and banking young canes, turning over trash or ratoon pieces (canes sprouting from old roots).
    • 1968, Paul C. Ekern, “Phyllotaxy of Pineapple Plant and Fruit”, in Botanical Gazette, volume 129, number 1, page 94:
      A number of very small fruits from Cayenne ratoons were recently examined.
    • 2005, Patrice Cadet; Vaughan W. Spaull, “Nematode Parasites of Sugarcane”, in Michel Luc; Richard A. Sikora; John Bridge, editors, Plant Parasitic Nematodes in Subtropical and Tropical Agriculture, 2nd edition, Wallingford, Oxon.; Cambridge, Mass.: CABI Publishing, →ISBN, page 646:
      Soon after harvest, new shoots emerge from axillary buds on the stubble and give rise to the ratoon crop. Initially the young shoots are dependent upon the roots of the previous crop (stool roots) but these are replaced by new shoot roots [] .
  2. A rattan cane.
    • 1660, Samuel Pepys, diary entry for 13 September, 1660, in Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys, London: Henry Colburn, 1848, 3rd edition, Volume 1, p. 134,[2]
      Mr. Hawley did give me a little black rattoon, painted and gilt.


ratoon (third-person singular simple present ratoons, present participle ratooning, simple past and past participle ratooned)

  1. (intransitive, of a plant) To sprout ratoons.
    • 1893, "Resources of British Honduras," Bulletin of Miscellaneous Information, vol. 1893, no. 82/83, p. 327,
      In the sugar areas to the north and south of the Colony cane has been known to "ratoon" for 20 to 30 years.
  2. (transitive) To cut a plant, especially sugar cane, so that it will produce ratoons.
    • 1969, M. Menzel; F. Wilson, "Genetic Relationships in Hibiscus Sect. Furcaria," Brittonia, vol. 21, no. 2, p. 100,
      Attempts to propagate them by cuttings (of flowering shoots) and to ratoon the old plants in the greenhouse in November were unsuccessful.

Derived terms[edit]


  • Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd ed., 1989.
  • Random House Webster's Unabridged Electronic Dictionary, 1987-1996.