What does rhubarb mean?

Definitions for rhubarb
ˈru bɑrbrhubarb

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word rhubarb.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. pieplant, rhubarbnoun

    long pinkish sour leafstalks usually eaten cooked and sweetened

  2. rhubarb, rhubarb plantnoun

    plants having long green or reddish acidic leafstalks growing in basal clumps; stems (and only the stems) are edible when cooked; leaves are poisonous


  1. rhubarbnoun

    A word repeated softly to emulate background conversation. (see rhubarb rhubarb).

  2. rhubarbnoun

    Any plant of the genus Rheum, especially R. rharbarbarum, having large leaves and long green or reddish acidic leafstalks, that are edible, in particular when cooked (although the leaves are mildly poisonous).

  3. rhubarbnoun

    The dried rhizome and roots of R. palmatum or R. officinale, from China, used as a laxative and purgative.

  4. rhubarbnoun

    An excited, angry exchange of words, especially at a sporting event.

  5. rhubarbnoun

    A brawl.

  6. rhubarbnoun

    An RAF World War II code name for operations by aircraft (fighters and fighter bombers) seeking opportunity targets.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Rhubarbnoun

    A medicinal root slightly purgative, referred by botanists to the dock.

    Etymology: rhabarbara, Lat.

    What rhubarb, senna, or what purgative drug
    Would scour these English hence. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    Having fixed the fontanel, I purged him with an infusion of rhubarb in small ale. Richard Wiseman, Surgery.


  1. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb is the fleshy, edible stalks (petioles) of species and hybrids (culinary rhubarb) of Rheum in the family Polygonaceae, which are cooked and used for food. The whole plant – a herbaceous perennial growing from short, thick rhizomes – is also called rhubarb. Historically, different plants have been called "rhubarb" in English. The large, triangular leaves contain high levels of oxalic acid and anthrone glycosides, making them inedible. The small flowers are grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-red inflorescences. The precise origin of culinary rhubarb is unknown. The species Rheum rhabarbarum (syn. R. undulatum) and R. rhaponticum were grown in Europe before the 18th century and used for medicinal purposes. By the early 18th century, these two species and a possible hybrid of unknown origin, R. × hybridum, were grown as vegetable crops in England and Scandinavia. They readily hybridize, and culinary rhubarb was developed by selecting open-pollinated seed, so its precise origin is almost impossible to determine. In appearance, samples of culinary rhubarb vary on a continuum between R. rhaponticum and R. rhabarbarum. However, modern rhubarb cultivars are tetraploids with 2n = 44, in contrast to 2n = 22 for the wild species.Although rhubarb is a vegetable, it is often put to the same culinary uses as fruits. The leaf stalks can be used raw, when they have a crisp texture (similar to celery, although it is in a different family), but are most commonly cooked with sugar and used in pies, crumbles and other desserts. They have a strong, tart taste. Many cultivars have been developed for human consumption, most of which are recognised as Rheum × hybridum by the Royal Horticultural Society.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Rhubarbnoun

    the name of several large perennial herbs of the genus Rheum and order Polygonaceae

  2. Rhubarbnoun

    the large and fleshy leafstalks of Rheum Rhaponticum and other species of the same genus. They are pleasantly acid, and are used in cookery. Called also pieplant

  3. Rhubarbnoun

    the root of several species of Rheum, used much as a cathartic medicine

  4. Etymology: [F. rhubarbe, OF. rubarbe, rheubarbe, reubarbare, reobarbe, LL. rheubarbarum for rheum barbarum, Gr. (and ) rhubarb, from the river Rha (the Volga) on whose banks it grew. Originally, therefore, it was the barbarian plant from the Rha. Cf. Barbarous, Rhaponticine.]


  1. Rhubarb

    Rhubarb is a species of plant in the family Polygonaceae. They are herbaceous perennials growing from short, thick rhizomes. They have large leaves that are somewhat triangular, with long fleshy petioles. They have small flowers grouped in large compound leafy greenish-white to rose-red inflorescences. In culinary use, fresh raw petioles are crisp with a strong, tart taste. Most commonly, the plant's leaf stalks are cooked with sugar and used in pies and other desserts. A number of varieties have been domesticated for human consumption, most of which are recognised as Rheum x hybridum by the Royal Horticultural Society. Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, in the United States, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties. A side effect was a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits. Rhubarb also contains glycosides especially rhein, glucorhein and emodin which impart cathartic and laxative activities to it. It is hence useful as a cathartic in case of constipation.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Rhubarb

    rōō′bärb, n. a plant, the tender acidulous leaf-stalks of which are much used in cooking, and the root in medicine: the root of any medicinal rhubarb, with cathartic properties.—adj. Rhu′barby.—Monk's rhubarb, the patience dock. [O. Fr. rheubarbe—Low L. rheubarbarum—Gr. rhēon barbaronrhēon, adj. of rha, the rha-plant, from the Rha, the Volga.]

Editors Contribution

  1. rhubarb

    A type of cultivar, plant and seed.

    Rhubarb is a popular vegetable and is eaten and used as if it were a fruit e.g. rhubarb jam, rhubarb yoghurt and used in pies and desserts.

    Submitted by MaryC on April 30, 2016  

Suggested Resources

  1. rhubarb

    Song lyrics by rhubarb -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by rhubarb on the Lyrics.com website.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce rhubarb?

How to say rhubarb in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of rhubarb in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of rhubarb in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of rhubarb in a Sentence

  1. Batman:

    The Joker Never rub another man's rhubarb.

  2. Gigi Hadid:

    I always make pies for Thanksgiving. I'm the pie girl, i love rhubarb pie, I love apple pie and pumpkin pie and blackberry pie — but sometimes that mixes with the rhubarb into one [pie].

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for rhubarb

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for rhubarb »


Find a translation for the rhubarb definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"rhubarb." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 8 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/rhubarb>.

Discuss these rhubarb definitions with the community:


    Are we missing a good definition for rhubarb? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Image or illustration of


    Credit »

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Browse Definitions.net


    Are you a words master?

    a protective covering (as for a knife or sword)
    • A. whitewash
    • B. nitrile
    • C. sheath
    • D. flair

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for rhubarb: