- any evergreen, coniferous shrub or tree of the genus Juniperus, especially J. communis, having cones that resemble dark-blue or blackish berries used in flavoring gin and in medicine as a diuretic.
- a tree mentioned in the Old Testament, said to be the retem.
- any coniferous shrub or small tree of the genus Juniperus, of the N hemisphere, having purple berry-like cones. The cones of J. communis (common or dwarf juniper) are used as a flavouring in making ginSee also red cedar (def. 1)
- any of various similar trees, grown mainly as ornamentals
- Old Testament one of the trees used in the building of Solomon’s temple (I Kings 6:15, 34) and for shipbuilding (Ezekiel 27:5)
“evergreen shrub,” late 14c., from Latin iuniperus (source of French genièvre, Spanish enebro, Portuguese zimbro, Italian ginepro), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to iunco “reed.” Watkins has it from PIE *yoini-paros “bearing juniper berries,” from *yoi-ni- “juniper berry.” Applied to various North American species from 1748. In the Bible, it renders Hebrew rethem, the name of a white-flowered shrub unrelated to the European evergreen.