honeydew

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Drops of honeydew (sense 1) on a leaf.
Honeydew (sense 2.2) or sooty mould on the leaf of a blue peppermint or broad-leaved peppermint (Eucalyptus dives).
A honeydew (sense 2.4) or honeydew melon cut open to reveal its interior.

The noun is derived from honey +‎ dew, originally believed to be a form of dew that fell from the sky like rain on to plants (see sense 1).[1]

The adjective is derived from the noun.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

honeydew (countable and uncountable, plural honeydews)

  1. (uncountable) A sweet, sticky substance deposited on leaves and other plant parts by insects (especially aphids and scale insects) feeding on plant sap, or by fungi.
    Synonym: (archaic) melligo
    • 1640, John Parkinson, “Nux Inglans. The Wallnut.”, in Theatrum Botanicum: The Theater of Plants. Or, An Herball of a Large Extent: [], London: [] Tho[mas] Cotes, OCLC 230746811, page 1415:
      [T]here reſteth on the leaves of this tree a kinde of red thicke dew in the hotteſt time of Summer more then on any other tree round about it, which will be rather dry then bedewed at all, which honey dew being taken doth ſlake the thirſt wonderfully: []
  2. (by extension)
    1. (uncountable) A sweet liquid substance resembling the substance mentioned in sense 1, such as honey, nectar, or manna in the Bible.
      Synonym: ambrosia
      • c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: [] (First Quarto), London: [] Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, [], published 1594, OCLC 222241046, [Act III, scene i]:
        [F]reſh teares / Stood on her cheeks, as doth the honie dew, / Vpon a gathred Lillie almoſt withered.
      • 1658, Edward Topsel [i.e., Edward Topsell], “Of the Sheepe”, in The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents: [], London: [] E. Cotes, for G. Sawbridge [], T. Williams [], and T. Johnson [], OCLC 5894574787, page 603:
        In India, and eſpecially in the region of the Praſians, it raineth many times a dew like liquid hony falling vppon the hearbs and graſſe of the earth: wherefore the ſhepheards lead their flocks vnto thoſe places, wherwithal their cattle are much delighted, and ſuch as is the food they eat, ſuch alſo is the taſt of the milke they render; [] Such a kind of dew the Hæbrewes call Manna, the Græcians Aeromelos, and Droſomelos: The Germaines Himmelhung: and in Engliſh Honny-dew: []
      • 1797, S[amuel] T[aylor] Coleridge, “Kubla Khan: Or A Vision in a Dream”, in Christabel: Kubla Khan, a Vision: The Pains of Sleep, London: [] John Murray, [], by William Bulmer and Co. [], published 1816, OCLC 1380031, page 58:
        Weave a circle round him thrice, / And close your eyes with holy dread: / For he on honey-dew hath fed, / And drank the milk of Paradise.
    2. (uncountable) A blackish mould (often called sooty mould) produced by fungi of the order Dothideales, feeding on the substance mentioned in sense 1.
    3. (uncountable, originally US) In full honeydew tobacco: a fine sort of tobacco moistened with a sweet substance (originally molasses).
    4. (countable) Short for honeydew melon (a melon from the Cucumis melo Inodorus cultivar group, with sweet, light green or white flesh and a smooth greenish-white or yellow rind).
      1. (uncountable) A light green colour, like the flesh of some honeydew melons.
        honeydew:  
    5. (countable, figuratively) Something that is enjoyable or pleasant.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

Adjective[edit]

honeydew (comparative more honeydew, superlative most honeydew)

  1. Of a light green colour, like the flesh of some honeydew melons.

Translations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ honeydew, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, June 2021; “honeydew, n.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading[edit]