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See also: pekan


a 68-year-old pecan tree, Carya illinoinensis
pecan nuts on a tree
a pecan nut
the edible portions of a pecan nut

Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from French pacane and at first spelt paccan. The French word derives from an Algonquian word,[1] perhaps Miami (Illinois) pakani. Compare Cree pakan (hard nut), Ojibwe bagaan, Abenaki pagann, bagôn, pagôn (nut; walnut, hazelnut).



pecan (plural pecans)

  1. A deciduous tree, Carya illinoinensis, of the central and southern United States, having deeply furrowed bark, pinnately compound leaves, and edible nuts.
    • 1885, Howard Seely, A Ranchman's stories, page 154:
      And away on the farther bank, a motte of huge pecans, standing like giant sentinels over the dwarfed landscape, filled the eye with remote vistas in their shady, twilight aisles. It was very still.
    • 1978 April, Texas Monthly, page 51:
      Within its ornamental fence, the 8/10-acre property includes several of the largest live oaks in the area — plus huge pecans and stately magnolias.
  2. A smooth, thin-shelled, edible oval nut of this tree.
    • 1982, Beth Henley, Crimes of the heart, page 17:
      MEG. [] (Meg takes out two pecans and tries to open them by cracking them together.) Come on ... Crack, you demons! Crack!
      LENNY. We have a nutcracker!
      MEG. (Trying with her teeth.) Ah, where's the sport in a nutcracker? Where's the challenge?
  3. A half of the edible portion of the inside of this nut.
    • 2005, in The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods (Joseph Pizzorno, Lara Pizzorno; Atria Books, →ISBN:
      Each shell contains two pecans, usually plump and oblong in shape, although some varieties are round or pointed.

Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ 2005, Webster's New College Dictionary II [1] →ISBN, page 829: [Algonquian paccan]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 The Dialect Survey, and Joshua Katz's maps of it
  3. ^ pecan”, in Unabridged,, LLC, 1995–present.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "pecan" in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, 2008,
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 pecan”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  6. ^ Christopher Davies, Divided by a Common Language: A Guide to British and American English (2005-7)
  7. 7.0 7.1 1983, Gage Canadian Dictionary
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 2004, Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2 ed.
  9. 9.0 9.1 2004, Australian Oxford Dictionary
  10. 10.0 10.1 2005, New Zealand Oxford Dictionary
  11. ^ Claude E. Kantner, Variant Louisiana pronunciations of the word "pecan" (1944)
  12. ^ Burkhard Dretzke, Modern British and American English pronunciation (2008)

Further reading[edit]




  • IPA(key): /ˈpekan/ [ˈpe.kãn]
  • Rhymes: -ekan
  • Syllabification: pe‧can



  1. third-person plural present indicative of pecar