rye grass

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rye / / • n. 1. a wheatlike cereal plant (Secale cereale) that tolerates poor soils and low temperatures. ∎  grains of this, used mainly for making bread or whiskey and for fodder. 2. (also rye whiskey) whiskey in which a significant amount of the grain used in distillation is fermented rye. 3. short for rye bread: pastrami on rye. ORIGIN: Old English ryge, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch rogge and German Roggen.

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rye, cereal grain of the family Gramineae (grass family). The grain, Secale cereale, is important chiefly in Central and N Europe. It seems to have been domesticated later than wheat and other staple grains; cultivated rye is quite similar to the wild forms and no traces of it have been found among Egyptian ruins or Swiss lake dwellings. Where it grows well, wheat is preferred, but rye will produce a good crop on soil too poor or in a climate too cool to produce a good crop of wheat. The standard schwarzbrot, or pumpernickel, of Europe was formerly the major rye product. A bread of lighter color, called rye bread, is made of rye flour mixed with wheat flour. Today rye is used mostly as a stock feed (usually mixed with other grains), for hay and pasturage, for green manure, and as a cover crop. Russia leads in world production. Rye is much used as a distillers' grain in making whisky and gin. The tough straw of rye is valued for many purposes, e.g., thatching for roofs and stuffing for horse collars. Ergot is a fungus disease of rye; the fungus is poisonous and may make the rye unsafe to use. Wild rye and lyme grass are names for several grasses of the genus Elymus, some of which are occasionally planted as ornamentals or used for binding sand. Rye is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliatae, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.

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rye grass, short-lived perennial, leafy, tufted plant belonging to the family Gramineae (grass family). Two species are grown in the United States—Italian rye grass (Lolium multiflorum), the leading hay grass of Europe, and English, or perennial, rye grass (L. perenne). In parts of the United States where winters are mild, both are sowed, often mixed with other grains, for pasturage. Italian rye grass is much used for lawns in warmer regions of the United States. Perennial rye grass was probably the first of all perennial grasses to be cultivated pure for forage. Poison rye grass, or darnel (L. temulentum), reputed to be poisonous, grows in grain fields and waste places; it is thought to be the tare of the Bible. Rye grass is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Liliatae, order Cyperales, family Gramineae.

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rye Grain of Secale cereale, the predominant cereal in some parts of Europe; very hardy and withstands adverse conditions better than wheat. Rye flour is dark and the dough lacks elasticity; rye bread is usually made with sour dough rather than yeast. See also bread, rye; crispbreads; ergot; ergotism; pumpernickel.

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rye OE. ryġe = ON. rugr :- Gmc. *ruʒiʒ (cf. *roʒʒan-, *ruʒʒn- in OS. roggo (Du. rogge, rog), OHG. rokko); cf. Lith. rugȳs, OSl. rŭžĭ (Russ. rozhʿ).
Hence rye-grass A. for earlier ray-grass (XVII), grass of the genus Lolium (†ray darnel XIV, of unkn. orig.); B. wild rye. XVIII.

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rye Hardy, cereal grass originating in sw Asia and naturalized throughout the world. It grows in poor soils and colder climates than most other cereals can stand. It has flower spikelets that develop one-seeded grains. It is used for flour, as a forage crop and for making alcoholic drinks. Height: to 0.9m (3ft). Family Poaceae/Gramineae; species Secale cereale.

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rye See SECALE.