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See also: Sorrel


Rumex acetosa, a kind of sorrel


Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English sorel, from Old French sorel, surele (sorrel), from Old French sur (sour), of Germanic origin, ultimately from Proto-Germanic *sūraz (sour); equivalent to sour +‎ -el (diminutive suffix). Compare Old English sūre (sorrel), Icelandic súra (sorrel), Dutch zuring (dock (plant), sorrel). More at sour.


sorrel (countable and uncountable, plural sorrels)

  1. Any of various plants with acidic leaves, especially
    1. Rumex acetosa (common sorrel, garden sorrel), sometimes used as a salad vegetable.
    2. Members of genus Oxalis or family Oxalidaceae, woodsorrels.
    3. The roselle, Hibiscus sabdariffa.
  2. A drink, consumed especially in the Caribbean around Christmas, made from the flowers of Hibiscus sabdariffa: hibiscus tea.
    • 2007, African and Caribbean Celebrations, →ISBN, page 56:
      Now, many people drink alcohol, but when I was a child I remember drinking sorrel, ginger beer and drinks made from fresh fruits such as soursop and passion-fruit. Sorrel was prepared over a long period, not as quickly as it is now.
    • 2009, C. C. Alick, Dancing with the Yumawalli: Inspired by True Events, page 62:
      For instance, one day we were sitting on the porch, looking down at the lagoon and the yachts from all over the world. He was drinking ginger beer mixed with rum, and I was drinking sorrel. No rum. Out of nowhere, he proposed.
    • 2012, Claudette Beckford-Brady, Sweet Home, Jamaica, page 390:
      Joy and the parents did not go either; we spent a quiet day at home, eating roast chicken and stuffing with our own green-gungu rice and peas, and drinking sorrel.
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Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English *sorel, from Middle French *sorel, sorrel, surrel, from Middle French sor (yellowish-brown, reddish-brown), probably from Old Frankish *saur (dried), from Proto-Germanic *sauzaz (dry), from Proto-Indo-European *saus- (dry, parched); equivalent to sore (reddish-brown) +‎ -el (diminutive suffix). Cognate with Middle Dutch soor (dry), Old High German sōrēn (to become dry), and Old English sēar (withered, barren). See also sere.


sorrel (countable and uncountable, plural sorrels)

  1. A brown colour, with a tint of red.


sorrel (not comparable)

  1. Of a brown colour, with a tint of red. (especially: a sorrel horse)

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