sycamore

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Circa 1350 as Middle English sicamour, from Old French sicamor, from Latin sȳcomorus, from Ancient Greek σῡκόμορος (sūkómoros, literally fig-mulberry), from σῦκον (sûkon, fig) + μόρον (móron, mulberry). Possibly influenced by Hebrew שִׁקְמָה(shikmá, fig-mulberry).

In the 16th c. applied to the European maple (Acer pseudoplatanus), in the early 19th c. to various plane tree species introduced to North America, perhaps in analogy to their shadiness.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

sycamore (countable and uncountable, plural sycamores)

  1. (US) Any of several North American plane trees, of the genus Platanus, especially Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), distinguished by its mottled bark which flakes off in large irregular masses.
    Synonyms: planetree, plane
    Hyponym: buttonwood
    • 1931, Gus Kahn (lyrics), Fabian Andre; Wilbur Schwandt (music), “Dream a Little Dream of Me”:
      Stars shining bright above you / Night breezes seem to whisper, I love you / Birds singin' in the sycamore trees
    • 1975, Saul Bellow, Humboldt's Gift [Avon ed., 1976, p. 408]:
      On his dark face were white sycamore patches.
  2. (Britain) A large British and European species of maple, Acer pseudoplatanus, known in North America as the sycamore maple.
  3. (originally) A large tree bearing edible fruit, Ficus sycomorus, allied to the common fig and found in Egypt and Syria.
    Synonyms: sycomore, sycomore fig, fig-mulberry

Related terms[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2021), “sycamore”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.