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[tuhm-buh l-weed] /ˈtʌm bəlˌwid/
any of various plants, as Amaranthus albus, A. graecizans, or the Russian thistle, Salsola kali, whose branching upper parts become detached from the roots and are driven about by the wind.
Origin of tumbleweed
1885-90, Americanism; tumble + weed1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for tumbleweed
  • The wind blows yellow dust and tumbleweed across highways that seem to stretch forever.
  • Yet it is part of that landscape now as surely as tumbleweed or sagebrush.
  • People who think they know from hearsay picture a bone-dry landscape puckered with sagebrush and tumbleweed.
  • There's a lot of time for reflection while sweeping the tumbleweed and dust off the patio.
  • People on both coasts and in between submitted urban tumbleweed.
  • But fencing would hinder migration routes and laser sensors can be triggered by falling snow and tumbleweed.
  • Forked sea tumbleweed is a brown algae with flat, rounded blades and forked branches.
British Dictionary definitions for tumbleweed


any densely branched plant that breaks off near the ground on withering and is rolled about by the wind, esp one of several amaranths of the western US and Australia
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 tumbleweed

also tumble-weed, 1887, from tumble (v.) + weed (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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