American Dictionary of the English Language

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1. A kind of thistle, the Latin tribulus, with a roundish prickly pericarp; on one side, gibbous, often armed with three or four daggers; on the other side, angular, converging with transverse cells. It grows in France, Italy and Spain, among corn, and is very troublesome, as the prickles run into the feet of cattle.

2. In military affairs, an instrument with four iron points, disposed in a triangular form, so that three of them being on the ground, the other points upward. These are scattered on the ground where an enemys cavalry are to pass, to impede their progress by endangering the horses feet.