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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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British Dictionary definitions for sloes

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
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Word Origin and History for sloes

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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