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Believed to derive from Abenaki, though no specific etymon has been found.[1][2] The term is first attested in the 1760s–90s,[1][2] when it was spelled hakmantak[1][2][3] and referred to dense forest.[1]

In the 19th century, some authorities questioned if tacamahac, tamarack, and hackmatack could be cognate to one another, perhaps all corruptions of one term, but such cognacy is unlikely.[4]

Compare the late 19th century German Low German term Hackemtackem (tacamahac (medicinal resin)).


hackmatack (plural hackmatacks)

  1. A larch, a tree of the species Larix laricina.
  2. A balsam poplar, a tree of the species Populus balsamifera.



  • 1867, Report of the Commissioner of Agriculture for the year 1866, page 483:
    The hackmatack is remarkable for having a principle root, which sometimes equals in size the trunk to which it belongs.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 hackmatack” in Dictionary.com Unabridged, Dictionary.com, LLC, 1995–.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. unabridged.merriam-webster.com ({{{1}}})
  3. ^ 1961, Maryland Historical Magazine, volume 56, page 29: Some 37 percent of the Constellation still remains in Newport. [] She retains knees from the hackmantack brought up in boats in 1796.
  4. ^ 1902, Journal of American Folklore, volume 15, page 260