From Middle English thistel, from Old English þistel, from Proto-West Germanic *þistil, from Proto-Germanic *þistilaz. *þīh- from *teyg-, which is a variant of Proto-Indo-European *(s)teyg- (“to prick”); from this same Proto-Indo-European root comes English stick.
thistle (plural thistles)
- Any of several perennial composite plants, especially of genera Cirsium, Carduus, Cynara, or Onopordum, having prickly leaves and showy flower heads with prickly bracts.
- This plant seen as the national emblem of Scotland.
- (heraldry) This plant used as a charge.
- The Order of the Thistle, or membership thereof.
- 1978, Lawrence Durrell, Livia (Avignon Quintet), Faber & Faber, published 1992, page 324:
- Here's a passage which will please you: ‘It is said that when rich he twice refused the thistle.’
- blessed milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
- blessed thistle
- bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
- Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
- carline thistle (Carlina spp. et al.)
- common sow thistle
- corn thistle (Cirsium arvense)
- cotton thistle (Onopordum acanthium)
- creeping thistle
- European swamp thistle
- fuller's thistle
- globe thistle (Echinops spp.)
- hedgehog thistle
- Marian thistle (Silybum marianum)
- marsh thistle (Cirsium palustre)
- Mary thistle (Silybum marianum)
- Mediterranean milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
- milk thistle
- musk thistle
- nodding thistle
- pine thistle
- plumed thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
- roadside thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
- Russian thistle (Salsola tragus, Salsola australis)
- Saint Mary's thistle (Silybum marianum)
- Scotch thistle (Onopordum acanthium et al.)
- shore thistle
- sow thistle (Cicerbita spp., Sonchus spp.)
- spear thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
- star thistle
- starthistle (Centaurea spp')
- tall thistle
- thistle butterfly (Vanessa spp.)
- thistle crown
- thistle funnel
- thistle sage
- thistle tube
- variegated thistle (Silybum marianum)
- Watling Street thistle
- way thistle
- “thistle”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “thistle”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.