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Any of various shrubs of the genus Berberis, having leaves that are often clustered, small yellow flowers, and red, orange, or blackish berries. They are grown as ornamentals or hedge plants.

[Middle English berberie, alteration (influenced by berye, berry) of Medieval Latin berberis, from Arabic barbārīs, ambirbārīs, amīrbārīs, of unknown origin.]


n, pl -ries
1. (Plants) any spiny berberidaceous shrub of the widely distributed genus Berberis, esp B. vulgaris, having clusters of yellow flowers and orange or red berries: widely cultivated as hedge plants
2. (Plants) the fruit of any of these plants
[C15: from Old French berberis, from Arabic barbāris]


(ˈbɑrˌbɛr i, -bə ri)

n., pl. -ries.
1. a shrub of the genus Berberis, esp. B. vulgaris, having yellow flowers in elongated clusters.
2. the red fruit of this shrub.
[1350–1400; Middle English barbere < Medieval Latin barbaris (< Arabic barbāris), with -baris conformed to bere berry]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.barberry - any of numerous plants of the genus Berberis having prickly stems and yellow flowers followed by small red berriesbarberry - any of numerous plants of the genus Berberis having prickly stems and yellow flowers followed by small red berries
Berberis, genus Berberis - large genus of shrubs of temperate zones of New and Old Worlds
American barberry, Berberis canadensis - deciduous shrub of eastern North America whose leaves turn scarlet in autumn and having racemes of yellow flowers followed by ellipsoid glossy red berries
Berberis vulgaris, common barberry, European barberry - upright deciduous European shrub widely naturalized in United States having clusters of juicy berries
Berberis thunbergii, Japanese barberry - compact deciduous shrub having persistent red berries; widespread in cultivation especially for hedges
bush, shrub - a low woody perennial plant usually having several major stems
References in periodicals archive ?
Similar in size to the biggest barberries, it has dark burgundy-purple leaves and rosy pink flowers.
Veterinarians give barberries to domestic animals affected by cholera.
Add the barberries to the pan, followed by the simmering stock.