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[gawrs] /gɔrs/
any spiny shrub of the genus Ulex, of the legume family, native to the Old World, especially U. europaeus, having rudimentary leaves and yellow flowers and growing in waste places and sandy soil.
Also called furze; especially British, whin.
Origin of gorse
before 900; Middle English gorst, Old English; akin to German Gerste, Latin hordeum barley
Related forms
gorsy, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for gorse
Historical Examples
  • This gorse cropped in winter, and preserved for cattle fodder.

  • Meanwhile they fired the gorse in front of the 29th Division.

  • I pushed my way along the cliffs through the gorse, till I came to the patch where the coast-guards had lain.

    Jim Davis John Masefield
  • It's 'Kate' in the sea, and 'Kate' in the river, and the trees and the gorse.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • You will at once think of the gorse and the hedgehog, or urchin, as some people call it.

    On the Seashore R. Cadwallader Smith
  • Why, to carry her, you torment, to carry her through the gorse like this.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • The fox traversed the gorse back from side to side and from corner to corner again and again.

    The American Senator Anthony Trollope
  • Just stirring the peats, and boiling the kettle, and lifting the gorse when there was any fire.

  • They were standing on a platform of rock, which shelved sharply down to a patch of gorse and heather.

    For the School Colours Angela Brazil
  • If the gorse should fail the fuchsia might even take its place on the mountains.

British Dictionary definitions for gorse


any evergreen shrub of the leguminous genus Ulex, esp the European species U. europeaus, which has yellow flowers and thick green spines instead of leaves Also called furze, whin
Derived Forms
gorsy, adjective
Word Origin
Old English gors; related to Old Irish garb rough, Latin horrēre to bristle, Old High German gersta barley, Greek khēr hedgehog
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 gorse

Old English gors "gorse, furze," from Proto-Germanic *gorst- (cf. Old Saxon, Old High German gersta, Middle Dutch gherste, Dutch gerst, German gerste "barley"), from PIE *ghers- "to bristle" (cf. Latin hordeum "barley;" see horror).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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