AskDefine | Define weed

The Collaborative Dictionary

Weed \Weed\, n. [OE. weed, weod, AS. we['o]d, wi['o]d, akin to OS. wiod, LG. woden the stalks and leaves of vegetables D. wieden to weed, OS. wiod[=o]n.] [1913 Webster]
Underbrush; low shrubs. [Obs. or Archaic] [1913 Webster] One rushing forth out of the thickest weed. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] A wild and wanton pard . . . Crouched fawning in the weed. --Tennyson. [1913 Webster]
Any plant growing in cultivated ground to the injury of the crop or desired vegetation, or to the disfigurement of the place; an unsightly, useless, or injurious plant. [1913 Webster] Too much manuring filled that field with weeds. --Denham. [1913 Webster] Note: The word has no definite application to any particular plant, or species of plants. Whatever plants grow among corn or grass, in hedges, or elsewhere, and are useless to man, injurious to crops, or unsightly or out of place, are denominated weeds. [1913 Webster]
Fig.: Something unprofitable or troublesome; anything useless. [1913 Webster]
(Stock Breeding) An animal unfit to breed from. [1913 Webster]
Tobacco, or a cigar. [Slang] [1913 Webster] Weed hook, a hook used for cutting away or extirpating weeds. --Tusser. [1913 Webster]
Weed \Weed\ (w[=e]d), n. [OE. wede, AS. w[=ae]de, w[=ae]d; akin to OS. w[=a]di, giw[=a]di, OFries, w[=e]de, w[=e]d, OD. wade, OHG. w[=a]t, Icel. v[=a][eth], Zend vadh to clothe.] [1913 Webster]
A garment; clothing; especially, an upper or outer garment. "Lowly shepherd's weeds." --Spenser. "Woman's weeds." --Shak. "This beggar woman's weed." --Tennyson. [1913 Webster] He on his bed sat, the soft weeds he wore Put off. --Chapman. [1913 Webster]
An article of dress worn in token of grief; a mourning garment or badge; as, he wore a weed on his hat; especially, in the plural, mourning garb, as of a woman; as, a widow's weeds. [1913 Webster] In a mourning weed, with ashes upon her head, and tears abundantly flowing. --Milton. [1913 Webster]
Weed \Weed\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Weeded; p. pr. & vb. n. Weeding.] [AS. we['o]dian. See 3d Weed.] [1913 Webster]
To free from noxious plants; to clear of weeds; as, to weed corn or onions; to weed a garden. [1913 Webster]
To take away, as noxious plants; to remove, as something hurtful; to extirpate; -- commonly used with out; as, to weed out inefficiency from an enterprise. "Weed up thyme." --Shak. [1913 Webster] Wise fathers . . . weeding from their children ill things. --Ascham. [1913 Webster] Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. --Bacon. [1913 Webster]
To free from anything hurtful or offensive. [1913 Webster] He weeded the kingdom of such as were devoted to Elaiana. --Howell. [1913 Webster]
(Stock Breeding) To reject as unfit for breeding purposes. [1913 Webster]
Weed \Weed\, n. A sudden illness or relapse, often attended with fever, which attacks women in childbed. [Scot.] [1913 Webster]

Word Net



1 any plant that crowds out cultivated plants [ant: cultivated plant]
2 street names for marijuana [syn: pot, grass, green goddess, dope, gage, sess, sens, smoke, skunk, locoweed, Mary Jane] v : clear of weeds; "weed the garden"

Moby Thesaurus

Canada thistle, DET, DMT, LSD, Mary Jane, STP, THC, abate, abrade, abstract, acid, amphibian, angiosperm, annual, antidepressant, aquatic plant, ataractic, backset, bate, biennial, black sheep, blemish, bones, boo, brake, burdock, burr, cannabis, chaff, chicory, cosmopolite, crab grass, creeping buttercup, culm, cultivate, culture, curtail, cut, cutting, dandelion, deadwood, deciduous plant, decrease, deduct, delve, depreciate, derogate, detract, dicot, dicotyledon, diethyltryptamine, dig, dimethyltryptamine, diminish, dishwater, disparage, dock, draff, drain, dregs, dress, dust, eat away, ephemeral, erode, evergreen, exotic, extract, fallow, fertilize, file away, filings, flowering plant, force, foreign body, foreign intruder, fungus, gage, gametophyte, ganja, garbage, gash, grass, gymnosperm, hallucinogen, harrow, hash, hashish, hay, hemp, hoe, hogwash, horsetail, husks, hydrophyte, impair, impurity, intruder, jimsonweed, joint, kava, leach, leavings, lees, lessen, list, mallow, marijuana, mescal, mescal bean, mescal button, mescaline, milkweed, mind-altering drug, mind-blowing drug, mind-expanding drug, misfit, monkey wrench, monocot, monocotyl, morning glory seeds, mote, mulch, mustard, nettle, oddball, offal, offscourings, orts, parings, perennial, peyote, plant, plantain, plow, poison ivy, poke, pokeweed, polycot, polycotyl, polycotyledon, pot, potsherds, prune, psilocin, psilocybin, psychedelic, psychic energizer, psychoactive drug, psychochemical, psychotomimetic, purify, rags, rake, raspings, reduce, reefer, refine, refuse, remove, retrench, roach, rub away, scourings, scrap iron, scraps, scum, seed plant, seedling, shards, shavings, shorten, slack, slag, sliver, slop, slops, spade, speck, spermatophyte, splinter, sporophyte, stick, stone, stubble, subduct, subtract, sweepings, swill, take away, take from, tares, tea, thallophyte, thin, thin out, thistle, till, till the soil, tranquilizer, triennial, vascular plant, vegetable, wastage, waste, waste matter, wastepaper, wear away, weed out, weeds, withdraw, work



  • /wi:d/
  • Rhymes with: -iːd

Etymology 1



  1. Any plant growing in cultivated ground to the injury of the crop or desired vegetation, or to the disfigurement of the place; an unsightly, useless, or injurious plant.
    If it isn't in a straight line or marked with a label, it's a weed.
  2. uncountable slang Marijuana.
  3. Tobacco.
  4. obsolete countable A cigar.
  5. obsolete countable A horse unfit to breed from.
  6. A puny person; one who has with little physical strength.
  7. countable Scotland A sudden illness or relapse, often attended with fever, which attacks women in childbed.
  8. Underbrush; low shrubs.
  9. countable figuratively Something unprofitable or troublesome; anything useless.
unwanted plant
  • Arabic: عشبة ضارة
  • trreq Chinese
  • Danish: ukrudt
  • Dutch: onkruid
  • trreq Esperanto
  • Finnish: rikkaruoho
  • French: mauvaise herbe
  • Georgian: სარეველა
  • German: Unkraut
  • Greek: ζιζάνιο, αγριόχορτο
  • trreq Hebrew
  • Hungarian: gaz, gyom
  • Ido: mala herbo
  • Italian: erbaccia
  • Japanese: 雑草
  • Korean: 김
  • Kurdish: ade
  • Norwegian: ugress
  • trreq Persian
  • Polish: chwast, zielsko
  • Portuguese: erva daninha
  • trreq Romanian
  • Russian: сорняк, сорная трава
  • Spanish: mala hierba
  • Swedish: ogräs
  • Telugu: కలుపు
  • Thai: วัชพืช
informal: a puny person
  • Japanese: ヒヨッコ, 役立たず
  • Polish: cherlak, mięczak
  • Japanese: 煙草, たばこ, タバコ
  • Polish: tytoń
a cigar
  • German: Glimmstängel, Kippe qualifier colloquial
  • Japanese: 葉巻
  • Polish: cygaro
slang: marijuana
  • Finnish: ruoho qualifier slang
  • French: herbe qualifier slang, marie-jeanne qualifier slang
  • German: Gras qualifier slang
  • Japanese: クサ
  • Polish: trawka qualifier slang
  • Romanian: iarbă qualifier slang
  • Russian: травка qualifier slang
sudden illness or relapse, often attended with fever, which attacks women in childbed
underbrush; low shrubs
  • Japanese: 柴
  • Polish: zielsko
figuratively: something unprofitable or troublesome; anything useless
  • Finnish: rikkaruoho
  • Polish: chwast
an animal unfit to breed from

Etymology 2



  1. To remove weeds (unwanted vegetation) from (a cultivated area).
    I weeded my flower bed.


remove weeds from
  • CJKV Characters:
  • Ewe:
  • German: jäten
  • Hungarian: gyomlál
  • Japanese: qualifier phrase 雑草を抜く, 草取りをする
  • Korean: 매다, 매다김
  • Polish: plewić, odchwaszczać
  • Russian: полоть
  • Spanish: escardar

See also

Etymology 3

wæd < . Compare Dutch lijnwaad, gewaad.


  1. A garment or piece of clothing.
  2. Clothing collectively; clothes, dress.
    • 1819, These two dignified persons were followed by their respective attendants, and at a more humble distance by their guide, whose figure had nothing more remarkable than it derived from the usual weeds of a pilgrim. — Walter Scott, Ivanhoe

Etymology 4

From the verb wee.


  1. past of wee


A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance, and normally applied to unwanted plants in human-made settings such as gardens, lawns or agricultural areas, but also in parks, woods and other natural areas. More specifically, the term is often used to describe native or nonnative plants that grow and reproduce aggressively.
Weeds may be unwanted because they are unsightly, or they limit the growth of other plants by blocking light or using up nutrients from the soil. They also can harbor and spread plant pathogens that can infect and degrade the quality of crop or horticultural plants. Weeds may be a nuisance because they have thorns or prickles, cause skin irritation when contacted, or parts of the plants might come off and attach to fur or clothes.


The term weed in its general sense is a subjective one, without any classification value, since a "weed" is not a weed when growing where it belongs or is wanted. Indeed, a number of "weeds" have been used in gardens or other cultivated-plant settings. An example is the corncockle, Agrostemma, which was a common field weed exported from Europe along with wheat, but now sometimes grown as a garden plant.


Weedy plants generally share similar adaptations that give them advantages and allow them to proliferate in disturbed environments whose soil or natural vegetative cover has been damaged. Naturally occurring disturbed environments include dunes and other windswept areas with shifting soils, alluvial flood plains, river banks and deltas, and areas that are often burned. Since human agricultural practices often mimic these natural environments where weedy species have evolved, weeds have adapted to grow and proliferate in human-disturbed areas such as agricultural fields, lawns, roadsides, and construction sites.
The weedy nature of these species often gives them an advantage over more desirable crop species because they often grow quickly and reproduce quickly, have seeds that persist in the soil seed bank for many years, or have short lifespans with multiple generations in the same growing season. Perennial weeds often have underground stems that spread out under the soil surface or, like ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), have creeping stems that root and spread out over the ground. A number of weedy species have developed allelopathy, chemical means to prevent the germination or growth of neighboring plants.

Relation to humans

As long as humans have cultivated plants, weeds have been a problem. Weeds have even been mentioned in religious and literature texts like the following quotes from Genesis and a Shakespearean sonnet: "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground,"
"To thy fair flower add the rank smell of weeds: But why thy odour matcheth not thy show, The soil is this, that thou dost common grow."
Weed seeds are often collected and transported with crops after the harvesting of grains, and so many weed species have moved out of their natural geographic locations and have spread around the world with humans. (See Invasive species.) Not all weeds have the same ability to damage crops and horticultural plants. Some have been classified as noxious weeds because if left unchecked, they often dominate the environment where crop plants are to be grown. They are often foreign species mistakenly or accidentally imported into a region where there are few natural controls to limit their spread and population. Many weeds have ideal areas for growth and reproduction thanks to large areas of open soil created by the conversion of land to agriculture, and human distribution of food crops mixed with seeds of weeds from other parts of the world. Thus humans are the vector of transport and the producer of disturbed environments, so weedy species have an ideal association with humans.
A number of weeds, such as the dandelion Taraxacum, are edible, and their leaves and roots may be used for food or herbal medicine. Burdock is common weed over much of the world, and is sometimes used to make soup and other medicine in East Asia. These so-called "beneficial weeds" may have other beneficial effects, such as drawing away the attacks of crop-destroying insects, but often are breeding grounds for insects and pathogens that attack other plants. Dandelions are one of several species which break up hardpan in overly cultivated fields, helping crops grow deeper root systems. Some modern species of domesticated flower actually originated as weeds in cultivated fields and have been bred by people into garden plants for their flowers or foliage.



External links

weed in Afrikaans: Onkruid
weed in Guarani: Javorái
weed in Bulgarian: Плевел
weed in Catalan: Herba adventícia
weed in Czech: Plevel
weed in Danish: Ukrudt
weed in German: Unkraut
weed in Spanish: Maleza
weed in Esperanto: Trudherbo
weed in French: Adventice
weed in Indonesian: Gulma
weed in Italian: Piante infestanti
weed in Hebrew: עשב
weed in Dutch: Onkruid
weed in Japanese: 雑草
weed in Norwegian: Ugress
weed in Polish: Chwast
weed in Russian: Сорное растение
weed in Serbian: Коров
weed in Finnish: Rikkakasvi
weed in Ukrainian: Бур'ян
weed in Walloon: Crouwå
weed in Wu Chinese: 草
weed in Yiddish: אומקרויט
weed in Chinese: 野草
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