Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A gum exuded by the African acacia trees Acacia senegal and A. seyal, used as a thickener, emulsifier, and stabilizer in food, pharmaceutical, and industrial products.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An edible substance taken from one of two species of sub-Saharan acacia trees. It is used in the food industry as a stabilizer (e.g. in soda, gumdrops and marshmallows) and in other industries including pharmaceuticals, paints and polishes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun gum from an acacia tree; used as a thickener (especially in candies and pharmaceuticals)

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[gum + Arabic.]

Examples

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  • "A Venetian mercantile handbook known as the Zibaldone da Canal includes tips on how to distinguish good-quality spices. Here the concern is not so much deliberate dishonesty as deterioration. Few of the aromatic products sold in the eastern Mediterranean could be described as fresh from the tree. Great emphasis was placed on the units being 'big,' which seems to have meant full and not shriveled or in bits. Cassia reeds (a laxative related to cinnamon) ought to feel 'whole, big and heavy,' and when shaken they should not make a sound. Gum arabic must be big, white, and bright. Ginger needs to appear long, firm, and big. It should be cut open to make sure it is white and not dark. Nutmegs are to be bought only when they are big and firm, and no more than one-fourth of a measure should be unripe. When the shell of a nutmeg is pierced with a needle, it should yield a small amount of water, 'and any other way is not worth anything.'"

    Paul Freedman, Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2008), 114.

    November 28, 2017