- any of a genus (Rheum) of perennial, large-leaved plants of the buckwheat family; esp., the domestic pieplant (R. rhaponticum), having large, cordate leaf blades borne on long, thick stalks: the stalks are cooked into a sauce or baked in pies, but the blades are poisonous
- the roots and rhizomes of various Asian rhubarbs, used as a cathartic
Origin of rhubarb? from the practice in early radio broadcasts of repeating “rhubarb” in simulating crowd noisesSlang a heated discussion or argument
Origin of rhubarbMiddle English rubarbe ; from Old French rheubarbe ; from Medieval Latin rheubarbarum, altered ; from Late Latin rha barbarum ; from Classical Greek rh?on barbaron, foreign rhubarb ; from rh?on, rhubarb (; from Persian r?wend) + barbaron, foreign, barbarous
- Any of several plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. rhabarbarum, having long edible green or reddish leafstalks that are usually cooked and sweetened. Also called pie plant.
- A preparation made from the dried rhizomes and roots of any of several plants of the genus Rheum, especially R. palmatum or R. officinale of East Asia, used as a laxative.
- Informal A quarrel, fight, or heated discussion.
Origin of rhubarbMiddle English rubarbe, from Old French, from Late Latin reubarbarum, probably alteration (influenced by Greek rh&emacron;on) of rhabarbarum : rha, rhubarb (from Greek rha, perhaps from Rha, the Volga River) + Latin barbarum, neuter of barbarus, barbarian, foreign; see barbarous.
(countable and uncountable, plural rhubarb or rhubarbs)
- Any plant of the genus Rheum, especially Rheum rharbarbarum, having large leaves and long green or reddish acidic leafstalks, that are edible, in particular when cooked (although the leaves are mildly poisonous).
- The dried rhizome and roots of Rheum palmatum or Rheum officinale, from China, used as a laxative and purgative.
- A word repeated softly to emulate background conversation. (see rhubarb rhubarb).
- An excited, angry exchange of words, especially at a sporting event.
- (baseball) A brawl.
- (military) An RAF World War II code name for operations by aircraft (fighters and fighter bombers) seeking opportunity targets.
From Middle English rubarbe, from Old French, from Late Latin reubarbarum, from Latin Rha (“River Volga") (in the region from which the plant came to the Mediterraneum, cognate with New Latin Rheum) + barbarum (“barbarian")