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sloe

[sloh] /sloʊ/
noun
1.
the small, sour, blackish fruit of the blackthorn, Prunus spinosa, of the rose family.
2.
the shrub itself.
3.
any of various other plants of the genus Prunus, as a shrub or small tree, P. alleghaniensis, bearing dark-purple fruit.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English slo, Old English slā(h); cognate with German Schlehe, Dutch slee
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for sloe
  • It is a sweet liqueur flavored by sloe berries, the fruit of the blackthorn, which is a member of the plum tree family.
British Dictionary definitions for sloe

sloe

/sləʊ/
noun
1.
the small sour blue-black fruit of the blackthorn
2.
another name for blackthorn
Word Origin
Old English slāh; related to Old High German slēha, Middle Dutch sleuuwe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sloe
n.

fruit of the blackthorn, Old English slah (plural slan), from Proto-Germanic *slaikhwon (cf. Middle Dutch sleeu, Dutch slee, Old High German sleha, German Schlehe), from PIE *sleie- "blue, bluish, blue-black" (see livid).

The vowel has been influenced by that in the old plural form, which according to OED persisted into the 17c. Scottish slae preserves the older vowel. Sloe-eyed is attested from 1804; sloe gin first recorded 1878.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for sloe

blackthorn

(Prunus spinosa), spiny shrub, of the rose family (Rosaceae), native to Europe but cultivated in other regions. The name is also applied to Crataegus calpodendron (or C. tomentosa), commonly called pear haw, another shrub or small tree of the rose family. P. spinosa usually grows less than 3.6 metres (12 feet) tall and has numerous, small leaves. Its dense growth makes it suitable for hedges. The white flowers, about 2 centimetres (0.8 inch) in diameter, appear before the leaves. The bluish-black, tart-flavoured fruit is about 2 cm in diameter and is used to flavour sloe gin.

Learn more about blackthorn with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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