• WordNet 3.6
    • n rhubarb long pinkish sour leafstalks usually eaten cooked and sweetened
    • n rhubarb plants having long green or reddish acidic leafstalks growing in basal clumps; stems (and only the stems) are edible when cooked; leaves are poisonous
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Botanically a rhubarb is a vegetable. It was changed to a fruit in 1947 by a U.S. Custom Court
    • Rhubarb 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.
    • Rhubarb (Bot) The name of several large perennial herbs of the genus Rheum and order Polygonaceæ.
    • Rhubarb (Med) The root of several species of Rheum, used much as a cathartic medicine.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n rhubarb The general name for plants of the genus Rheum, especially for species affording the drug rhubarb and the culinary herb of that name. The specific source of the officinal rhubarb is still partially in question; but it is practically settled that R. officinale is one of the probably several species which yield it. R. palmatum, R. Franzenbachii, and R. hybridum also have some claims. The article is produced on the high table-lands of western China and eastern Tibet, and formerly reached the western market by the way of Russia and Turkey, being named accordingly. It is now obtained from China by sea (Chinese rhubarb), but is more mixed in quality, from lack of the rigorous Russian inspection. Various species, especially R. Rhaponticum and R. palmatum, have been grown in England and elsewhere in Europe for the root, but the product is inferior, from difference either of species or of conditions. The common garden rhubarb is R. Rhaponticum and its varieties. It is native from the Volga to central Asia, and was introduced into England about 1573. Its leaves were early used as a pot-herb, but the now common use of its tender acidulous leafstalks as a spring substitute for fruit in making tarts, pies, etc., is only of recent date. Attempts to use it as a wine-plant have not been specially successful. Some other species have a similar acid quality. From their stature and huge leaves, various rhubarbs produce striking scenic effects, especially R. Emodi, the Nepal rhubarb, which grows 5 feet high and has wrinkled leaves veined with red; and still more the better-formed R. officinale. A finer and most remarkable species is R. nobile, the Sikhim rhubarb, which presents a conical tower of imbricating foliage a yard or more high, the ample shining-green root-leaves passing into large straw-colored bracts which conceal beautiful pink stipules and small green flowers. The root is very long, winding among the rocks. This plant is not easily cultivated.
    • n rhubarb The root of any medicinal rhubarb, or some preparation of it. Rhubarb is a much-prized remedy, remarkable as combining a cathartic with an astringent effect, the latter succeeding the former. It is also tonic and stomachic. It is administered in substance or in various preparations.
    • n rhubarb The leafstalks of the garden rhubarb collectively; pie-plant.
    • rhubarb Resembling rhubarb; bitter.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Rhubarb rōō′bärb 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
    • ***


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
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
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
O. Fr. rheubarbe—Low L. rheubarbarum—Gr. rhēon barbaronrhēon, adj. of rha, the rha-plant, from the Rha, the Volga.


In literature:

The taste is something like rhubarb, only a little sharper.
"Narrative of a Mission to Central Africa Performed in the Years 1850-51, Volume 2" by James Richardson
They included canned vegetables, potatoes, hominy, rhubarb, pemmican, tea, and coffee.
"The North Pole" by Robert E. Peary
If I were her medical man, I should order her a dose of rhubarb and sal volatile.
"The Nicest Girl in the School" by Angela Brazil
Away he ran to the rhubarb and looked under the piece of wood, and there was the toad asleep, just as he always was.
"Wood Magic" by Richard Jefferies
I think it was being vexed with me that made her vexed with Dr. Brown, when he said rhubarb and magnesia would not do me any good.
"Last Words" by Juliana Horatia Ewing
For instance: We would give a purgative in the shape of salts, rhubarb, calomel and other substances of choice.
"Philosophy of Osteopathy" by Andrew T. Still
Grandma had baked two rhubarb pies.
"Sunny Boy in the Country" by Ramy Allison White
Pour this mixture over rhubarb.
"Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking" by Unknown
Extract Rhubarb, one scru.
"One Thousand Secrets of Wise and Rich Men Revealed" by C. A. Bogardus
There is generally a great bunch of rhubarb.
"The Toilers of the Field" by Richard Jefferies
Ten grains of rhubarb every night.
"Zoonomia, Vol. II" by Erasmus Darwin
Pill-stick is rhubarb-pill in the concrete.
"The Dop Doctor" by Clotilde Inez Mary Graves
But if you wish to know how excellent such rhubarb can be, make it thus into meringue pies or tarts.
"Dishes & Beverages of the Old South" by Martha McCulloch Williams
Le medecin vous donne de la rhubarbe, et voila que vous aimez votre semblable.
"The Wit of Women" by Kate Sanborn
She went down with him into the warmish cellar, where already in the darkness the little yellow knobs of rhubarb were coming.
"The Rainbow" by D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence
Rhubarb is medicine, too, and yet it makes nice pies and tarts.
"Five Mice in a Mouse-trap" by Laura E. Richards
Boil six or eight sticks of clean rhubarb in a quart of water, ten minutes.
"The Cook and Housekeeper's Complete and Universal Dictionary; Including a System of Modern Cookery, in all Its Various Branches," by Mary Eaton
The pores are minute, indistinctly stratified, tawny-ferruginous, the mouths rhubarb-color.
"The Mushroom, Edible and Otherwise" by M. E. Hard
Rhubarb requires deep, rich soil.
"Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 4, January 26, 1884" by Various
Rhubarb Souflee 105 387.
"Desserts and Salads" by Gesine Lemcke

In poetry:

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;
"Digging 2" by Edward Thomas
Ye healers of men, for a moment decline
Your feats in the rhubarb and ipecac line;
While you shut up your turnpike, your neighbors can go
The old roundabout road to the regions below.
"Lines -- for Berkshire Jubilee, Aug. 23, 1844" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
Triumphal return to Simla of the Investigators, attired after
the manner of Dionysus, leading a pet tiger-cub in wreaths
of rhubarb-leaves, symbolical of India under medical treatment.
They sing: —
"The Masque of Plenty" by Rudyard Kipling

In news:

When the first rhubarb is ready to harvest, you know it's spring.
Spiced Rhubarb Sauce for Pork.
Lori Niedenfuer Cool The Grand Rapids Press Diane Coddington's rhubarb bars.
A rhubarb -based Italian amaro replaces the traditional Campari in this riff on the classic Negroni.
How many pounds of rhubarb does Lucile's use to make strawberry- rhubarb jam.
For one writer, rhubarb 's spring growth signals more than summer pies.
Rhubarb is not common in this part of the world, but it sometimes can be found in the frozen food aisle at Whole Foods and other stores.
Reader has lead on source of rhubarb .
Frozen rhubarb is one of the most frequent requests I get for Taste of the Town, in large part because it's so elusive in Las Vegas.
A rhubarb over rhubarb : snap or cut.
Bethlehem man's rhubarb creations are on the wild side.
Take the lazy way out with Rhubarb and Peach Crisp.
Spring heralds the arrival of rhubarb .
How to Make Rhubarb Sauce (with pork tenderloin).
I stood at the Saturday Farmers Market staring at an interesting stack of Paw Paw Plantation rhubarb .