- any of numerous plants belonging to the genus Crataegus, of the rose family, typically a small tree with stiff thorns, certain North American species of which have white or pink blossoms and bright-colored fruits and are cultivated in hedges.
- any of various thorny trees or shrubs of the N temperate rosaceous genus Crataegus, esp C. oxyacantha, having white or pink flowers and reddish fruits (haws)Also called (in Britain): may, may tree, mayflower
Old English hagaþorn, earlier hæguþorn “hawthorn, white thorn,” from obsolete haw “hedge or encompassing fence” (see haw) + thorn. A common Germanic name, cf. Middle Dutch and German hagedorn, Swedish hagtorn, Old Norse hagþorn.