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[spurj] /spɜrdʒ/
any of numerous plants of the genus Euphorbia, having a milky juice and flowers with no petals or sepals.
Compare spurge family.
Origin of spurge
1350-1400; Middle English < Middle French espurge, noun derivative of espurgier to cleanse < Latin expurgāre. See ex-1, purge Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for spurge
  • Leafy spurge is an aggressive invader and, once present, can completely overtake large areas of open land.
  • Ranchers need to be patient in awaiting the benefits from introduced leafy spurge enemies.
  • Leafy spurge is difficult to control because it can grow in many different environments.
  • Non-native species of the park, especially focused on leafy spurge.
  • We have recently cloned a number of genes that are known to play a key role in cell division from the perennial weed leafy spurge.
British Dictionary definitions for spurge


any of various euphorbiaceous plants of the genus Euphorbia that have milky sap and small flowers typically surrounded by conspicuous bracts. Some species have purgative properties
Word Origin
C14: from Old French espurge, from espurgier to purge, from Latin expurgāre to cleanse, from ex-1 + purgāre to purge
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 spurge

plant species, late 14c., from Old French espurge, from espurgier "to purge," from Latin expurgare, from ex- "out" (see ex-) + purgare "to purge" (see purge). So called from the plant's purgative properties.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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