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.
    • 1611, Bible (KJV):, Genesis 3:18:
      Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field [...].
  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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