Any of numerous herbs, shrubs, or trees of the genus Euphorbia, characteristically having milky juice and a cluster of small unisexual flowers that are surrounded by a cuplike structure composed of fused bracts. Also called euphorbia.
[Middle English, from Old French espurge, from espurgier, to purge (from its use as a purgative), from Latin expūrgāre; see EXPURGATE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.