Definition of devil's shoestring in English:

devil's shoestring

Pronunciation /ˌdɛvlz ˈʃuːstrɪŋ/


  • 1Any of several leguminous plants native to North America having long, tough roots, especially goat's rue (Tephrosia virginiana), formerly used to poison fish and as a medicinal herb; a root of such a plant.

  • 2Any of several North American shrubs of the genus Viburnum (family Adoxaceae), especially the hobblebush or American wayfaring tree (V. lantanoides), having drooping branches that take root when they touch the ground (chiefly in plural). Also: a root or other part of such a shrub, especially used in magical or religious practice.

  • 3The trumpet creeper, Campsis radicans (family Bignoniaceae), which spreads rapidly and produces multiple clinging tendrils.

    C. radicans is widely cultivated as a garden plant for its red and yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, but may also be regarded as an invasive species.


Early 19th century. From the genitive of devil + shoe-string.