from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A deciduous, dioecious tree (Ginkgo biloba) native to China and having fan-shaped leaves and fleshy yellowish seeds with a disagreeable odor. The male plants are often grown as ornamental street trees. Also called maidenhair tree.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Ginkgo biloba, a tree native to China with small, fan-shaped leaves and edible seeds.
- n. The seed of the ginkgo tree.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A large ornamental tree (Ginkgo biloba) from China and Japan, belonging to the Yew suborder of Coniferæ. Its leaves are so like those of some maidenhair ferns, that it is also called the maidenhair tree.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. See gingko, 1.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. deciduous dioecious Chinese tree having fan-shaped leaves and fleshy yellow seeds; exists almost exclusively in cultivation especially as an ornamental street tree
Probably from ginkō, an artificial or mistaken Sino-Japanese reading of the Chinese characters for ginkgo : Japanese gin, silver (from Middle Chinese ŋin) + Japanese kō, kyō, apricot (from Middle Chinese).(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Chinese 鴨脚 (yājiǎo) "duck feet" due to the shape of the leaves, the pronunciation then changing (along with the characters) to 銀杏 (yínxìng) "silver apricot". The same characters 銀杏 are used in Japanese (ichō) and Korean (eunhang). The Japanese characters used to write ginkgo look as though they could be read ginkyō, and this was the name Engelbert Kaempfer, the first Westerner to see the species in 1690, wrote down in his Amoenitates Exoticae (1712). However, his "y" was misread as a "g", and the misspelling stuck. (Wiktionary)